We are right in the middle of our travels!

Santa Cruz Jan 18

On the road again and the rain started coming down – pouring from the sky in torrents.  We aren’t used to rain like this!

It was certainly a wet and wild drive!  Our next stop before the EcoFarm Conference was Santa Cruz to meet John Robbins (author of Diet For A New America and Food Revolution). Fortunately for us, a lady (thanks Helena!) whom we met in Nevada City had friends there who had some extra sleeping space.  What a blessing!

Before our scheduled visit with John Robbins and his family, we popped over to the University of California Santa Cruz farm to check out their growing grounds and Alan Chadwicks garden that was the seed of the biointensive movement here in the States.

We were jealous of all the land – and the view– was worth a million (and more) dollars.  The farm land gently rolled off into the ocean on the horizon.   Just amazing vista — yeah, I’m jealous!

Then it was off to meet John, Deo, Ocean and Michele Robbins and family. I had read Robbins’ book Diet For A New America when I was a teenager. So it was a thrill for us to meet the Robbins family in person. Also, John Robbins kindly wrote a review for Robert McFall’s HomeGrown documentary.

Actually, McFalls had another newbie food activist in mind to give a review on the film, but we wanted the film to go to folks that had touched our lives and shaped our journey – folks from the old days that are continuing the food fight today. People like Francis Moore Lappe, John Robbins, Wendell Berry & Wes Jackson.

OK, back to our visit!

We chatted about all sorts of topics, from uncannily similar stories of difficult choices Jules Dervaes and John Robbins made on the basis of deeply held principles to the (grim) state of the world and the necessity of a radically different lifestyle to skepticism about “green washing” and the “light green” tint of some of the current environmental ‘movement’.

We felt a real connection with the Robbins family’s multi-generational way of living and working together. The Robbins’ son, Ocean, and his wife, Michele, and children, lived with them in the same house for many years; now, they live on the same property, although in a separate dwelling, and continue to work together.

John ended our visit by gathering us in a circle and saying a prayer – what a truly warm and touching moment that was!

Thank you, Richard and Dianne, for offering your place for the night.  We truly appreciated that.   And a huge thank you to the entire Robbins family whose work and passion continue to make a real difference around the world.

Now down to Monterey to the Eco Farm Conference!

But before we go, here’s some photos.

The farm of UCSC

Old fashion farm implements – sadly, not in use.

Like a bee to honey, Mr Beekeeper checks out the bees

And Jordanne the chicken coop of course!

Next to the John Robbins family “compound”

Group shot with John Robbins and daughter in law, Michelle.  We briefly met Ocean – he had to leave very shortly after we arrived.


  1. ~~Melissa says:

    Reading Diet For A New America and seeing a talk by John Robbins in the late 1980’s changed my life. I’d always been a vegetarian by nature, but I realized right then that what is good for my body and health is what is also best for the earth. We’re one being, really.

  2. Janice says:

    thanks for sharing! I have yet to read the book, I think I’ll go and try to find it at the library…

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