The owners of Revolution Landscape have more than just green thumbs—they have a green approach to landscaping that focuses on conserving water, maintaining native plants, reusing resources and sustainably growing organic fruits and vegetables.
Jeff Robbins and Ari Tenenbaum founded the San Diego-based company in 2008 with just a truck and some tools. The company has since grown from being just the two of them to employing a staff of eight—five of them being permanent employees. Revolution Landscape now has completed nearly 50 projects, which include the construction of edible gardens and native landscapes mostly in residential communities, Robbins said. There is now a waitlist building, and the entrepreneurs are looking to expand, particularly in the commercial and nonprofit sector.
Over the last two decades, the organic label has graduated from cameo appearances on supermarket shelves to full blown supporting actor taking up whole sections of major supermarket chains. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), sales of organic food increased nearly six-fold from 1997-2008 making organic food a $20 billion industry. Americans clearly are paying more attention to how their food is produced.
However, many small producers are choosing not to pursue organic certification, even though they plan to employ organic practices, due to costs and labor intensive practices. Their alternative? Direct contact with customers, transparent practices, word of mouth, and good old-fashioned trust.
David Chelf’s love for growing healthy and flavorful food dates back to his adolescence.
It was that love combined with a physics background that led the founder of Airstream Innovations, Inc. to create the wind-assisted, air-supported greenhouse, and invention he says helps farmers grow more sustainably. Chelf, the company’s president, originally invented the product in late 2005 for his own crops.
(Chelf is also the owner of Wicked Wilds, a company he founded in 2003 that focuses on growing organic fruit and vegetable varieties with the maximum level of flavor.)
The Airstream Innovations greenhouse model, which is made with a reinforced plastic, relies on controllable air pressure and ventilation.
The 70-acre USDA-certified organic farm in San Diego, with more than 100 varieties of crops, has about 400 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program members, or community members who sign up to receive boxes of its produce on a regular basis, said Lucila De Alejandro, who owns the farm with her husband. Suzie’s Farm also sells its produce at 14 weekly farmer’s markets all over San Diego County, and it sells its produce to more than 50 restaurants and at least 10 grocery stores.
Frog Hollow Farm Strives to Fulfill Promise of Brentwood, CA Terroir and Raise New Crop of Organic FarmersNovember 10, 2011 | Kelly Hatton
When Al Courchesne started farming on 13 acres in Brentwood, CA, he didn’t have a business plan; he had a shovel. So he dug holes and planted trees on the land he’d purchased with business partner Sarah Coddington.
“I was young and optimistic and strong,” said Courchesne. “I could work long hours. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to plant orchards.”
That was in 1976, and in the 35 years since, Frog Hollow Farm has grown from 13 acres to 133.
The farm produces enough fruit to feed both wholesale and retail markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has expanded its product line to include conserves and pastries.