What Do You Gift a Sustainable Living Transitionist for His/Her Birthday? Tara Firma Farms & Farmstead, Here We Come!!!


How does a recovering over-consumer celebrate her birthday? My birthday just passed and I’m thrilled to share my pictures and experience. My husband, Dan, is exceptional at gift giving, because he thinks about the gift recipient’s interests through the process. Dan researched a name I mention often (Joel Salatin), scouting out Salatin’s interactions with California farms. He gifted me a tour of  a local farm that implements many Polyface Farms strategies: Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma, CA.

Founder, farmer, mother and mentor Tara Smith guided our group. She began the tour by sharing the experience that forked her road, leading her to launch Tara Firma Farms in 2009. She and her husband were working hard and steady in the corporate life, when they were introduced to Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. Tara smiled humbly as she described her son’s sentient response to her transition to sustainable living language (joyfully obsessive as it can be). “Stop talking about it, and just do it Mom!”, he said. Craig and Tara Smith sold the catamaran they used for their touring business in the Caribbean, and bought a farm in Petaluma, CA!

Enjoy these lively pictures, by my talented husband, Dan Tichenor. Join us on my Tara Firma Farms birthday tour!

What a farm! It inspires me to see what the Smith family has built since 2009!

After our farm tour we lunched at Farmstead, in St. Helena. Simple, clean, farm-to-table ingredients make a delicious meal. Impeccable service adds delight, a peacefully slow garden walk makes the soul smile, and a boy soaking his head in the restaurant fountain gives a giggle!

What an amazing birthday!!!! In addition to this fantastic experience, I received other gifts, from loved ones who have clearly noticed my sustainable living interests. My husband spoiled me with a large planter (half wine barrel) for our small shaded porch. My reading teaches me that I may have success with leafy greens on a shaded porch… maybe herbs. Edible is a must! Flowers can come later… maybe:)! This will be my first garden, porch or otherwise, and I will appreciate all comments, thoughts, and suggestions! Mr. Dan also did research on eco-friendly cookware and presented me with his findings. Any readers who’ve used ManPans, or any other eco-seasoned cookware, please message me with your thoughts! From friends and family:

  • The WonderWash portable washing machine! I promise pictures, as I will assemble this next week!
  • T-shirts by Locally Grown Clothing Company. Stylish, soft, and a perfect fit!
  • Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
  • A Microwave Baked Potato Pouch!!
  • A long time friend and soul sister went to the farmer’s market for in-season, local produce and gluten free tortillas, and cooked enchiladas for us in my kitchen. After eating we wrote song lyrics for hours!!!! What a gift! I just finished the last of the enchiladas yesterday:)!

What do you gift to your loved ones who are in sustainable living transition and/or over-consumption recovery? Biocadence has already received great feedback from followers! David Dixon of Plant And Plantcare would like an adobe brick oven! Mr. Dixon shares that he and his wife are planning to build a “pole barn in the spring… [they] are closing it in with earth bag framing… this will be [their] housing… the brick oven will go in the lean-to patio… [they] will use it for heating and cooking…”. My homesteading, permaculture, and blogging friend Joyness Sparkles shares that her husband LOVES his old-fashioned shaving kit, and will never go back to electric or disposable shavers!!! She adds that she would love a nap for her birthday. She is one of the hardest working sustainable living transitionists I know. A nap, and two, and three! Take them, dear Joyness! My favorite pencil-drawing artist, Risa Jenner, shares that she would love reusable sandwich bags! Good thinking Risa!!!! I am very excited to read more input, as the art of gift-giving evolves for our recovering over-consumer community!!!

To my readers outside of Northern California (as most of you are), I have a special message for you! When I began researching beyond organic farming, homesteading and permaculture, I had trouble finding a local farm similar to Polyface Farms. I didn’t expect that my husband would find it for my birthday, over a year later! If you are looking for a local farm with integrity and beyond organic practices, don’t stop! If it doesn’t exist in your area today, it will soon. The movement is growing, folks! In the meantime, pick up a pre-owned copy of Novella Carpenter’s Farm City and consider starting your own small operation!

I highly recommend the Tara Firma CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  Meat, dairy, and produce combos (which I have not seen before in a CSA) represent beyond organic farming models that are supported by Tara Firma Farms, as well as the farms they partner with to supplement their CSA boxes! Tara Firma makes an organized box drop in Oakland, CA, which I intend to use for now. To my Walnut Creek, CA friends who are interested in nutrition, sustainable eating, and farm animal welfare– message me if you would consider ordering consistently from the Tara Firma Farms CSA. Let’s come together, and give cause for a Walnut Creek/East Bay drop to be added to the Tara Firma CSA route!

Quicklinks to Most Popular Biocadence Articles:

“The Hunger Games”… Fiction or Non-Fiction?

What is Ethical Eating?… Is Eating Meat Ethical?

Use Biodegrable Trash Bags!

Embracing the Fulcrum: Reconciling My Belief in the Law of Attraction With My Sustainable Living Transition


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About Biocadence

Hello! I’m Annie Tichenor, Founder of Biocadence, LLC (www.biocadence.wordpress.com). I hope to ignite a path toward over-consumption recovery, global sibling interconnectedness, and quality-of-life design. A few years ago, I began measuring my impact on the environment. Since then I’ve analyzed my energy-use habits while researching the impact of over-consumption on the global hunger epidemic, global relations and global quality of life. This process has driven me to notice the disparity between my environmental impact in the past and my footprint goal for the future. My drive to change my own habits has evolved into a desire to share my strategies. I crafted the Biocadence Recipe and the Impact/Disturbance (ID) Model, to illustrate the critical role of behavioral sustainability in the sustainable lifestyle transition process. Biocadence is focused on increasing the accessibility of sustainable living and facilitating the rhythm of humanity in harmony with nature. The vision of Biocadence is to build a community of environment-lovers who come together to leverage each other’s knowledge and celebrate sustainable living accomplishments. Learn about the Biocadence Recipe and ID Model: http://www.biocadence.org/biocadence.html

4 responses to “What Do You Gift a Sustainable Living Transitionist for His/Her Birthday? Tara Firma Farms & Farmstead, Here We Come!!!”

  1. Joyness Sparkles says :

    Oh I am so happy for you! What a wonderful birthday gift!

    I checked awhile back and the closest farm like this to us was about a four hour drive. I asked if we could take a tour and they were not happy about that, so we have yet to see one in person. Someday we will, I am just not sure when. I would like to see one in Texas with cattle as I have never seen cattle treated well down here.

    I am jealous of your wine barrel!!! That is an amazing gift, wow! You sure know how to pick husbands, you need to write a post on that. 😉 And yes, you are correct, greens grow very nicely in shade, even in the house instead of traditional houseplants. And there is no pollination required unless you want to save the seeds.

    I am so happy that you had a wonderful birthday! 🙂

    • Biocadence says :

      Thanks for your comment, Joyness! A few farms (every other I’ve asked, I think) have declined my request to see their operation. Their reasons are sound enough… safety, liability, cleanliness. But, I can’t help but remain suspicious of an operation that won’t allow it’s customers to see it!

      You are so sweet:)! I get the feeling you know how to pick husbands as well… hehe!

      I appreciate your generous sharing of knowledge and your enduring support! Keep up the fantastic blogging dear Joyness. Your images and ideas often give me pause. Well done!

      -Annie

  2. Josh says :

    What a fantastic gift! We’re up here in Seattle, and thankfully have a ton of great sustainable resources close by. But next time I’m in northern California I’d like to go see Tara Firma, it looks amazing.
    I just stumbled on your blog. Good, thoughtful posts. I’ll be checking back regularly!

    • Biocadence says :

      Hi Josh,

      I’ve often heard that Seattle may be ahead of the curve in re: sustainable living! I’m very happy with the developments in our area. The movement is growing… I can feel it. I am very excited to see what will come in the next 50 years.

      I’m glad that you are interested in visiting Tara Firma, and confident that you will enjoy the experience. I hope that you will subscribe to the Biocadence blog, and that I will see more contributions from my reader(s) in Seattle!

      -Annie

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