First to speak are veteran organic farmers Carl Rosato and Helen Atthowe who created “wildly organic” Woodleaf Farms using living mulch, native plants and soil fertility practices, selling their delicious peaches and other crops at Bay Area farmers’ markets. Carl is well-known in the agricultural community as a researcher, soil scientist and mentor to newer farmers. He is also a constant innovator, experimenting over the years with solar power, pruning systems and compost creation among other methodologies. Helen is an organic farmer from Montana with a passion for designing sustainable ecosystems. Carl first met Helen sitting in an audience, listening to her present at a conference and realizing that she was the one person he’d met who truly shared his approach to all organic farming; further research revealed that she was single and… ultimately, they wound up farming together. In 2012, Helen sold her farm and joined Carl at Woodleaf.
Carl Rosato owned and farmed CCOF-certified tree fruit and vegetable crops at Woodleaf Farm from 1980-2015. He is an orchard and soil management consultant and taught orchard pest management in the CCOF “Going Organic” program and at Butte Community College. Carl has done extensive on-farm research in brown rot disease management and mineral mix bloom sprays. Carl continues to experiment on the new farm he co-owns with his wife Helen Atthowe.
Helen Atthowe has an M.S. in Horticulture from Rutgers University, worked in Integrated Pest Management in New Jersey, was a Horticulture Extension Agent in Montana for 17 years, and an Organic Systems Research Assistant at Oregon State University. She farmed organically-certified vegetables and tree fruit at her Biodesign farm in Montana, (1993-2010), with Carl at Woodleaf Farm (California, 2012-2015), and presently at the new vegetable and fruit farm in Oregon she co-owns with her husband Carl Rosato.