June Grower Spotlight: Connor Jones of East End Eden Farm - Ventura County Agricultural Education
June 2014: Connor Jones of East End Eden Farm One hears the phrase old soul and thinks wise beyond their years. Connor Jones is 22 and is just that. He is one of the most dedicated, well read and wise farmers I’ve ever met.
His soul radiates a lovely grounded logical energy that only a man of the earth can exude. With the help of his father he has created a diverse sustainable food forest nestled in between the mountains of Ladera Canyon in Ojai’s east end.
The forest contains hundreds of free range chickens, Oberhasli and Saanen goats, two very robust Berkshire pigs, an aquaculture green house with 300 hundred Catfish, Carp, Gold, Koi and Blue Gill fish, outdoor compostable toilet and many small gardens and an orchard. This is the kind of farm I grew up on except we had cows, pigs, rabbits and turkeys. Edible Ojai & Ventura County’s Linda Harmon proclaimed East End Eden demonstrates the change they want to see in the world. I couldn’t agree more.Connor never plants in a straight line because nature is not linear, it’s beautifully random and when you visit Connor at his beautiful creation you are immersed in a raw organic paradise. Paradise is not linear either. Isn’t that Interesting?
Connor is a walking permaculture library. Permaculture refers to a self-maintained agricultural system modeled on natural ecosystems. Connor educated himself through a long list of in depth agricultural books starting with the Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison. “I was bored out of my mind in Algebra II class at Ojai Valley School when I leaned back in my chair and hit my head on a tattered copy of Intro to Permaculture”. Connor declared. “The covers permaculture farm layout diagram really captured my attention”. After he read the book from cover to cover he found his calling – organic permaculture farmer. There was no denying it. For someone who didn’t discover their purpose until the age of 40 I am in awe of Connor because he ‘s already an authority in bio-dynamic farming and he is a FARMER through and through.
The phrase ‘where there is food there is love’ comes to mind when I think of Connor. After school he headed down under to Australia ‘s Permaculture Research Institute. Now his 10 acre East End Eden is well on it’s way to being a progressive farm using state-of-the-art permaculture methods.An aquaponic system raises fish and crops in a closed system that loses only a small amount of water, as low as 2%, to evaporation. The water their farm uses comes from an on-site well and the rainfall they capture. The Joneses visited existing systems before designing and building one for themselves, including a slanted roof for rainwater catchment. Their system consists of a 720-square-foot greenhouse with three 350-gallon tanks holding 150 to 200 bluegill, channel catfish, carp and goldfish, and four raised beds growing produce, such as greens, tomatoes, peppers, beans, strawberries, melons, herbs and grasses.
As Team SEE AG walked around the property with Connor he frequently used the expression “the next generation”. Already at 22 he is very concerned about the planet and leaving it in better condition for the next generation. When he talks about his young daughter, Mooniyaa, this heartfelt concerned look gleams in his eye. When you love something so deeply, like your child and the earth, you make good decisions for both. Thank you Connor Jones for being a great human and neighbor.
For more information visit – Ojai Permaculture. Connor would love to take you on a tour.