Dan and Caitlin's future in farming together was sealed as soon as it started. The couple met, the only two Americans, at a sustainable farming course in Australia.
With an equal spark for ecological regeneration, Dan and Caitlin joined forces professionally, co-creating their education and consulting organization, SweetSoil LLC, in Petaluma, CA.
Together they regularly consulted Dole Fresh Vegetables, San Francisco Waste Management, as well as farms and vineyards in Sonoma and Napa, CA in sustainable operations.
Caitlin & Dan lead multiple 72-hr. Permaculture Design Courses (PDCs), and organized/co-taught
40-hr. Soil Foodweb Intensives.
Dan & Caitlin are also Soil Foodweb Advisors. The two trained closely with Dr. Elaine Ingham for over a year. They developed a compost tea brewer with Dr. Ingham, which they manufactured and sold under SweetSoil.
Additionally, they professionally analyzed soil samples and conducted sustainable food production studies for non-profits such as the Rodale Institute.
Prior to working together, Caitlin was the Permaculture Curator, Instructor, and Propagation Specialist at the Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden. For over a decade, she taught classes, installed edible and sustainable gardens with the design group she founded, SayPermaculture!, and gave professional consultations as a trained Herbalist. She holds a cum laude degree in Botany from the University of Hawai'i, with a minor in Ethnobotany, and is a Mensa Scholar.
Dan received his Certificate in Permaculture Design from grasslands expert; Brock Doleman; certification in Keyline Design from world expert Darren Doherty; Advanced Permaculture Design Certification from Geoff Lawton; additional studies with Permaculture Co-Founder, David Holmgren; and Soil Advisor Certification from microbiologist Dr. Elaine Ingham. Dan, a dedicated volunteer for SPAWN, a non-profit dedicated to salmon protection and watershed restoration, received their prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award, for over 1,000 hrs of service. Dan graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Marketing.
Caitlin and Dan were drawn to create their own farm in order to expand the practices of diversified, pasture-raised, nature-based, nutrient-dense, local food to another level, and to share and enjoy the high-quality foods they produce and adore so much.
While they started farming because of their passion for ecological regeneration, they were slower to fully understand the wide-ranging benefits of the food they were producing. Both were interested in great food for decades, and shopped at expensive health food stores for their meals and supplements. However, both had nagging health issues. Caitlin had been a vegan for a decade beforehand and could not seem to reverse her anemia and low thyroid conditions. Dan was not happy either with many years suffering from psoriasis and leaky gut issues.
When they started farming and thus eating more from the farm, their health increased. Caitlin's anemia went away and Dan's psoriasis started getting better. When they were in the hard startup years of the farm and reasources were very low, they were forced to cut food costs and eat almost entirely from the farm.
It was at this time that they figured out how incredibly healing a mobile pasture-raised diet can be. They boht reversed all of their health issues and continue to see greater health and mental happiness every year.
Eight years later on the farm, they continue to be equally energetic about continually growing Copia into greater depths and heights of ecological diversity, nutrient-dense foods, and healthy, happy community. Today they feel like they've hit their stride - living, designing, and fervently farming at Copia full-time.
They are so grateful for a huge community that comes out to purchase the foods they produce and that their community sees the benefits of supporting pasture-raised for their health and the health of the earth!