This winter the skies have been mostly cloudy, dropping rain on the earth- like a true California winter, like the ones I experienced when I first moved here a decade ago. Everything is lush. Vibrant green cloaks the mountains, and the air is fresh and full of nature’s scents. On those strong blustery days, the stands of eucalyptus sway and oak leaves rustle. And on those few dry days, when the sunshine illuminates the sky, life seems to burst all around the farm.

I’m going to miss these sights, sounds, and scents, of winter particularly. I’m going to miss this beautiful place I have called work and home for five years. And more than those peaceful moments, where stillness and mist hang in the air at dawn, while the birds sing their choirs, I will miss the chaos of kids adventuring outdoors, moving their bodies, and teaching me as I teach them.

The past five years have left me with some of the most fulfilling moments of my life. When I tell people about my job, there is always a sense of awe and a response of “that’s so awesome!”. And it truly is. In those moments, I am reminded that my heart is full of gratitude for what this place and community has given me- an incredible opportunity to spend my days outside and spread my deep love for farming, food, and nature.

As I slowly step back from Farm Discovery, we welcome a new face into our family. Olivia Locatelli will be continuing our mission working with kids and educating them on food, farming, nature and the connections they have with us and each other. She is a recent graduate of UC Santa Barbara, and has moved back to her home in Santa Cruz County. Olivia has experience in youth education, particularly regarding farm/garden experiences, and helped fight food insecurity on the UCSB campus through coordinating a school community garden. We are excited to have her on our team as she steps into her new role as Education Associate this winter.

So as we say hello to Olivia, I am beginning my goodbyes- or see you laters, because this place will always be a place I call home.

Christine Landis