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People said he was nuts, but this farmer proved it could be done

30 years ago, fellow farmers told Jim Cochran, founder of Swanton Berry Farm, he'd never be able to grow strawberries on a commercial scale without pesticides. After all, no one had ever managed to run such a large berry business using all organic methods. But Jim believed it could be done.

And so did we. 

In 1998, The Trust for Public Land purchased 7,000 acres of coast, agricultural lands, and inland hills just north of Santa Cruz. Today the land—once slated for a 139-home subdivision—belongs to the public for hiking, biking, and soaking in the beauty of the California coast. 

It's also home to Swanton Berry Farm, an organic pioneer for the industry. In addition to providing local markets with juicy organic strawberries,  the farm invites the public to pick berries fresh from its bountiful fields and picnic on its scenic coastal grounds. A cozy cafe welcomes friends and families who gather to play board games and enjoy strawberry shortcake or jars of homemade jam.

Inspired? Join the movement and show your support for protecting OUR land. Just visit and create your #OurLand postcard to tell us why parks, trails, community gardens, farms and other public lands matter to you. Then share your postcard with your friends and social media networks.

We can't wait to hear YOUR story!



Marian Krewson
Kudos to you for standing up for what you believe!! We need more who believe that this can be done. I buy organic whenever possible, and now is a great time as the farmers Markets are in my neighborhood every Tue, so now I can get my tomatoes, peaches, apples and asparagus as well as some wonderful oils vinegars, mustards and seasonings. They taste SOO much better! Thank you so much for your wonderful example!
David Greene
I thank Mr. Cochran for his efforts and his regard for the consumer. Strawberries have been subject to exotic and toxic pesticides. His efforts for organic is welcome and may also save water.
Jaycie Ingersoll
I'm hopeful that as more and more people seem to be learning about and caring about our total environment that just maybe our whole culture will change and that those who are engaged and profiting from destroying our world will be marginalized. We CAN have a sustainable world if we all just make that effort!
Sharron Newton
Thanks for ALL you do!!!
This is what I have been praying for a long time. Someone to come up with growing organic without a lot of toxins in the food and deadly chemicals in our food. Thank you Jim Cochran for fighting back against the ones who say this can not be done. I knew some one would defeat these so called people who just want to get rich on the backs of the people. I pray to God that you will not ever stop feeding us all good clean and safe food. Keep it up. I know first hand that people want you to keep this up and include others in your discovery for safe clean food. thank you
jeannette langstaff
I have been living in Hollister, CA since 1978 and know how fortunate we are for the courageous, outstanding organic farmers in our Northern Californria region. Thank you to the Swanton Farm for being wise instead of following the naysayers. Organic farming is the traditional way our ancestors thrived and have passed on a sustainable Nature that nurtures our health and welfare. I enjoy coming to Davenport overlooking the ocean and open space and crossing Highway One to your famous farm and theTrailer business owned by a family offering products for sale from the local artists and craftspeople. This is the way to work presently and in the future. My small front and back yard is organic with many native plants and some vegetables that I tend by pulling the weeds, no herbicides/pesticides. The Land Trust is a most important team member for its investments in socially responsible transactions. 7,000 acres for the Public's hiking, inspiration and ag land is a great success for the environment and all things living. This preserves land instead of paying over and ruining our Natural Resources provide life on earth . Let's keep these positive actions moving above all.
Roderick Arthur Wood
Keep up the good work , im with you all the way
Dietrich Schlobohm
I enjoyed the video, but was disappointed that there was no information on how Jim Cochran accomplished his dream. i.e., how does one grow organic strawberries on a large scale and still make a profit. I'd like more agricultural info. about this. From what I have seen in Maine it's very labor intensive with lots of weeding, weeding, weeding, etc. Plus removing pests. Frost is also a problem in some areas, requiring the ability to spray water on the berries. thanks
Can we please stop using "Organic" as interchangeable with "no Pesticides"? That is not the definition of organic, and it is a shame to see such widespread use of this misinformation. Not bashing organic at all, but we need to be educated about what we say. This article from Scientific American describes it clearly:

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