Bill Booth and Debra Seido Martin are married partners who met at Blue Heron Farm in Correlitos, CA, in 1986. Having grown up in rural O’Fallon, IL where his family grew much of their own food, Bill was later drawn to his garden roots after returning from four years teaching agriculture in Loma Hasha, Swaziland through the Peace Corps from 1976-1980. Realizing much of the world’s food insecurities were linked with American choices and agricultural practices, he made a commitment to develop awareness at home regarding local sustainably grown food. After attending the UCSC Farm & Garden program which teaches French intensive biodynamic methods popularized in the US by Alan Chadwick, he continued to farm in the Davis, CA area before becoming a partner with Dennis Tamura at Blue Heron Farm south of the Bay Area. Bill brings to the farm a wonderful mix of a steady devoted work rhythm, genuine care and support of others, and wholehearted laugh you can hear an acre away.
While taking a break from activist work in San Francisco in the mid 80’s, Debra fell in love with farming after working at Molino Creek north of Santa Cruz on the California coast. She and Bill later met at his farm in Correlitos and have been life partners since 1988. Farming immediately integrated a diverse set of passions, including progressive social change, holistic health, community building, education, ecology and spiritual inquiry. Debra completed a Masters Degree in Couples and Family Therapy in 2011 at the University of Oregon and currently divides her time between work on the farm, Zen teaching and training, and psychotherapy practice. Though seemingly diverse interests, she considers each practice to be deeply informed by the others in that our insights into human existence are intimately linked to our relationship to nature.
Lisa Roschek has worked at Horton Road Organics for the past seven years, and lives in Blachly, just a couple of miles from the farm. Originally from Kalamazoo, MI, she left a soccer coaching career in 2011 to move to the farm and complete an apprenticeship. Starting with basic curiosity about organic farming and a desire to work outside, Lisa quickly appreciated the positive results of growing vegetables in a small-scale organic system. She enjoys the efficient hand-work of harvesting, planting and cultivation because the timing of these tasks appeals to her competitive spirit and love of challenges. Now managing most of the day-to-day farm operations, Lisa likes organizing the flow of each work day and figuring out where each crew member can best fit into the projects that need to be completed. She also believes that developing customer relationships at weekly farmers markets is one of the most rewarding parts of farming because these relationships reinforce how much the community supports the work that we do.
Staff & Apprentices
Horton Road’s staff and apprentices are really the heroes of the farm—intrepid travelers who form a unique lively cohort year after year. Each winter, our program receives dozens of applicants from all over the country, indicative of the increase in awareness of ecological issues for our planet and priority for this next generation. The farm is graced by an amazing array of talent each season as many applicants bring world travel experience, artistic expression, diverse work skills and community activism involving food security issues. Apprentices learn as much from each other as they do from the program and share with one another the season of hard work and a job well done. Staff positions are mainly filled by returning apprentices which involves a challenging role where they have the opportunity of teaching what they’ve learned the previous year.