Raven Lukehart first got into Holistic Management when she attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; which offers the only college level class in the U.S. Raven took to the concept right away, because of the style in which she was brought up in agriculture. Raven grew up just outside of Davis, California, in a very rural area where her family raised meat birds in the orchard. Holistic Management took practices they were already doing and thinking about and gave them more understanding on how to utilize both their tools and their land.
During Raven’s time in the class at Cal Poly, she approached Rob Rutherford, a Holistic Management Certified Educator, and asked him about scholarships and other possible opportunities in Holistic Management. Rob recommended Raven for the Terry Gompert Memorial Scholarship, which was created to honor long-time Holistic Management Certified Educator, Terry Gompert. Raven would be the first recipient of the scholarship.
Rob felt that Raven was a good candidate, since she and her husband Jake live and work on their farm in San Luis Obispo. Their farm has a variety of row crops, orchards, animals, and encourages community involvement. They sell their product at their own market right on the property. They also have a bakery, ice cream shop, and deli, with all enterprises run by family members. The property is surrounded by a creek and wooded hillside, that offers the biodiversity that many farms lack. Raven felt that with their farm came a huge responsibility in how they farmed and managed their land.
“There are so many ways out there to run a farm OR run a business. We needed to run a farm AND a business.”
Jake came from a fairly conventional farming background, so he decided it would be best if he took the class with her. They both felt that Jake could use Holistic Management to help him take his huge amount of experience and really run a business. “I think that is the biggest importance of Holistic Management in our lives,” says Raven. “There are so many ways out there to run a farm OR run a business. We needed to run a farm AND a business.” Raven and Jake wanted to grow a great product and make money doing it.
Without making money, they could not stay where they were at and manage the land properly. The Holistic Management framework gave Raven and Jake the ability to enhance their experience, further their education, and later adapt Holistic Management practices.
“The future looks much brighter for our farm.”
Raven and Jake are in their first year of business, so they haven’t seen a huge change, but they have seen change. “We are starting to plan for profit by assessing everything we do; getting creative and pushing harder on our enterprises,” says Raven. In the near future, Raven and Jake will be increasing the productivity of their land by grazing their crop residue and orchards. Holistic Management has brought their family closer together with a united future and goal. “And most importantly,” says Raven, “the future looks much brighter for our farm.”