Shakefork Community Farm is situated on 85 acres in the Van Duzen River floodplain of far northern California. We’re usually just beyond the reach of Humboldt County’s coastal fog, in sunny Carlotta. We grow vegetables, berries, and flowers on 5 acres for our 120 member CSA and three farmers markets. We use holistic planned grazing to intensively manage sheep, cattle, laying hens, turkeys, and meat birds in an orchestrated dance designed to build soil and diversify our pastures. We train oxen and work the garden with both a tractor and oxen draft power.
Certified Organic is not going far enough, in our minds. We strive beyond sustainable, beyond organic, to a regenerative agriculture determined to change the world one acre at a time. To that end, providing for our own fertility needs from the farm itself is a primary focus of our daily work. Our family dairy is a huge part of our fertility program, as are our two oxen teams. We grow oxen-powered produce in more ways than one! We also strive to provide for most of our own needs from the farm, from lumber to compost, salad to potatoes, ghee to grass-finished lamb.
We feed and are fed by a strong connection with our community. Feeding our family, our farm-ily, and our community the best food on the planet is the reason we farm.
Kevin Cunningham, partner and farmer.
Kevin has been farming in Humboldt County since 2000, when he landed his first farm job at Warren Creek Farm. He started Shakefork Community Farm in 2008, farming 15 acres of grains on leased ground in the Arcata Bottoms. Kevin manages the pasture dance of sheep, cattle, layers, and broilers at Shakefork Community Farm. He is also our ox teamster, dairyman, chicken killer extraordinaire, sheep sheerer, builder, and maker of fine cultured butter and ghee products.
Participating in various projects in agriculture education at both College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University helped foster Kevin's strong interest in teaching the skills of farming to the larger community. He holds a BA in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College in Arizona. Kevin's favorite tool on the farm is the Annie's All-in-One that was purchased through a crowdfunding campaign in 2013 and has exploded the possibilities for increased efficiencies using draft oxen power in the garden.
Melanie Cunningham, partner and farmer.
Melanie has been farming in Humboldt County since her arrival in 2005, after two years of traveling and farming in Hawaii, India, and Thailand. Melanie manages Shakefork Community Farm’s 5 acre vegetable production, 120 member CSA, greenhouses, pastured poultry production, and the farm finances. She is passionate about good, wholesome food and the domestic arts of household and homestead.
Melanie holds an AS in Environmental Horticulture from City College of San Francisco and a BA in Religious Studies from Humboldt State; her studies in both areas have enriched and supported her farming. She discovered her passion and skill for growing things and physical work as a landscape gardener in San Francisco, starting a business that continues to flourish today. She came to farming hungry for an authentic connection to people and place that becomes richer with each passing season. Her favorite tool on the farm is Quickbooks and her favorite crop to grow is carrots... or maybe onions... no wait bell peppers!! Actually, she loves it all.