Just south of the Bay, in one of the many dry, grassy valleys that constitute the bulk of California, Paicines Ranch is a community of farmers, land stewards, and coordinators set on the singular mission of restoring their land. An event space, land rehabilitation project and farm nestled on 7k acres of dry rolling hills, shady waterways and irrigated pasture, there is a feeling that nothing happens without everyone. Mary and Martha, two women focused on the same goal through wildly different means, took us on a tour of that land, pointing out the different paddocks and slopes which made up the land. Mary, loquacious and bubbly, excitedly talked about the pigs down at the northeast paddock, cooling off in the soft mud while Martha, warm and calm, described the local flora she hoped to see spring back to life in the next couple years among the dry oats and grasses.
One spends their day organizing weddings in the farmhouse, building the website and handling food sales while the other tends to the cows, herds the goats and surveys the land, yet both do so with the same singular focus on the project of restoration. Mary’s husband works there too, building and maintaining the grounds and buildings, and their soil analyst and his wife work there, out in the fields and down in the office. There’s also the local pie shop who sells pies during the holidays there, the nearby wineries who stock their wines and a hospitality staff for events and the multiple cabins available for farm stays. While Martha may be the one actually drafting their management plans, a whole community is turned toward the same mission and soon, with a bit of luck and lots of effort, they’ll all be responsible for the restoration of native ecosystems.