About Us: History

The Vision

June and Bill Thompson

The history of Redwood Roots Farm is intimately tied to Jacoby Creek Valley residents Bill and June Thompson. They are the visionaries behind the conservation easement that is on the land where the farm is situated. The Thompsons' passion for farmland preservation grew out of experiences while traveling through some of the country's major agricultural areas during the Great Peace March of 1986. They witnessed firsthand how economic pressures were forcing farmers off their land, and saw the community-wide effects that resulted. The Thompsons moved to Arcata from their Redwood City residence in 1989, determined to preserve land for organic agriculture and wildlife habitat. During the same year, they bought the parcel where Redwood Roots Farm is now located; realizing that their ownership of the land was just the first step in its preservation, they also began working to create a legal structure that would ensure the parcel could not be developed or subdivided in the future.

The Thompsons knew that a conservation easement could help them accomplish their objectives. A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that limits certain types of land uses and development from taking place on a piece of property in perpetuity. Such an agreement constitutes a transfer of usage rights, protecting a property's ecological or open-space values by separating the right to subdivide and build on the property from the other rights of ownership. However, to be legally enforceable, the terms of a conservation easement must be written into a deed and be monitored by a qualified land protection organization.

Such an organization did not yet exist when the Thompsons arrived to the area, so in 1992 Bill and June helped form the Jacoby Creek Land Trust, a non-profit organization that became the vehicle for accepting a conservation easement on their land. Once these legal requirements were met, the Thompsons knew the right farmer would join them in their venture. Redwood Roots Farm is proud to be a part of Bill and June's original vision.

The Farm

Janet Czarnecki and T Griffin
Janet Czarnecki and Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson founded Redwood Roots Farm in the fall of 1997 at its original half-acre site on Anvick Lane. T Griffin soon joined Erin in her venture; the two women completed the farm's first season in 1998, after which Erin left the farm in T's hands. Current Redwood Roots Farm owner and farmer Janet Czarnecki partnered with T in 1999, the same year that the farm was established on the Thompson's Jacoby Creek parcel. Janet became the sole proprietor in 2002, and in 2004 was able to make the remarkable step of purchasing the land from the Thompsons. Janet's skills, energy, and commitment to community have enabled the farm to grow stronger and more diverse every year.

Redwood Roots Farm produces a diversity of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and berries that we distribute through our CSA, our on-site Farm Stand and sell at early season farmers markets at the Arcata Plaza.

The Community

Community outreach is an important part of our mission at Redwood Roots Farm. The farm is continually expanding its capacities as a learning center, and we offer a variety of education and outreach programs to the public throughout the season.