Hi I'm Tony Gurnoe. I'm almost 28, was born and raised in the north county of San Diego. I didn't grow up farming. I didn't even particularly get into gardening until my early adulthood, however since then I have been studying and working as hard as possible to get as good with food and medicine plants as I can. I spent the past several years first growing organic herbs and vegetables for a high end restaurant El Bizcocho before getting a job at the San Diego Botanic Garden taking care of all of their edible plantings including a fruit tree orchard of diverse specimens from around the world, a medicinal and culinary herb garden, an interactive children's vegetable garden, and I even helped create a "permaculture" demonstration garden on the premises to show off some sustainablegardening techniques.
It was a bittersweet day when I realized I don't have time to both work full-time at the botanic garden and run a farm, but that I could feasibly choose the farm. I've been working towards this for years and after my mother passed away last fall I realized that life is too short not to go for it. I started working four acres that was so poor and compacted to begin that our hardiest weeds were having a tough time. I'm more comfortable calling this venture permaculture-inspired or influenced than straight up permaculture. Frankly growers around here are not as hip to permaculture as you might expect. Paul may remember the talk he gave for the San Diego Horticultural Society (if I remember right). The S.D.H.S. is in theory our premiere horticultural group but it was so embarrassing for me that people first off didn't seem to know anything about permaculture, didn't appear to understand the concepts of how to reduce irrigation needs through permaculture, and then went on to ask Paul about whether some poison is ok or if it's all bad.
To cut to the chase: I'm looking to get an old but trusty tractor so I started a crowdsourcing campaign. In just over six months I've turned a dirt lot into a profitable organic garden, CSA program, and neighborhood resource. Up to now this venture has been entirely self-funded and I didn't originally intend to change that. Growth has been slow, steady, and constant, but I'm absolutely inundated with demand! I have a huge waiting list for my CSA program, I'll be in farmer's markets soon, and I'm in talks with a couple of chefs interested in adding local produce to their menu. My mission is to provide as many families with locally grown healthy food as possible and a tractor will help me to use my time more efficiently which means more food for the people and more money to reinvest into the farm and community.
I gave your project a nudge on our Facebook OPDC pages, so hopefully you'll get some donors. One suggestion: you might want to add a lower tier donation level (like 5-10 bucks with no thank you card, but perhaps a thank you email or deeply felt personal thanks, lol). Leverage the power of the small action, right?