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Sonoma County Gazette
Scene from the revived Veronda-Falletti Ranch in Cotati.
Scene from the revived Veronda-Falletti Ranch in Cotati.

Why Do Farmers Farm?
& The Veronda-Falletti Ranch


2nd Annual Cotati Music Festival
Summer Movies in The Park 



May 30, 2019
by Deborah Taylor-French


Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities
on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming?
…the answer is love.”
~ Wendell Berry

My mother Evelyn grew up on a farm. Her grandfather had a homestead on 150 acres near the Wexler post office and pony express stop. Today that area of Northern California is known as Burney Falls. The land her grandfather built his home on included 900-year-old oaks, a freshwater source, and a pond. Matthew Baker immigrated from Germany where large trees and forest were revered. So even under financial distress, he never thought of cutting those trees down.

Eventually, he lost his Homestead not having enough cash to pay his land taxes. The terrible thing was that the next owner of that oak savanna, chopped those giant oaks down, sold them, and had cash to spare for taxes. Unfortunately, this pattern continues among small farms who often lose their farms and livelihoods to Big Ag.

Of course, some people have great luck with farming, but I don’t believe anyone will tell you it’s an easy life. Every child in my mother’s family did farm chores. The youngest at age three fed the chickens and hunted for eggs. The oldest helped their father feed the cows and do the daily milking. 

My mother recalls a year they planted eight sacks of potatoes and only grew eight sacks of potatoes! That was a hunger year. My grandmother Alice Baker worked as a sharecropper at the age of 12 with her four siblings. When her children were small on the Homestead, she taught them not to greedily fill their stomachs. She led them in saying grace and leaving food so that the whole family would get enough to eat. In other words, eat to live not live to eat.

So, I congratulate Cotati for their vision and follow-through on Veronda-Falletti Ranch. 

Information and background:

Happenings at the Veronda-Falletti Ranch 

Rainbow Bridge Montessori kiddos have been participating in a weekly Farm Internship with Farmster at the Veronda-Falletti Ranch.

Farmster’s Open Farm Friday is an engaging and entertaining two-hour program from 3-5pmfor family, friends, and neighborsat the Historic Veronda-Falletti Ranch, near downtown Cotati. A tour of the site’s history, current operations, and future plans begins promptly at 3pm followed by a family friendly hands-on activity at 4pm. Please RSVP or drop-in at the designated time slot. 

Upcoming open farm Friday dates: April 19, May 17, June 21, July 19, Aug 16, Sept 20, Oct 18, 2019. 

NEW! Jr. Farmsters Camp for ages 5-12

Dates: July 29-August 2, 9:00am-12:00pm.  Fee: $160/week. Location: Veronda-Falletti Ranch, Corner of West Sierra Ave & East School Street (next to City Hall). Instructors: Farmster & City of Cotati Staff 

Come join us for the first ever Farm Camp at the historical Veronda-Falletti Ranch! We will spend the week learning about the history of the ranch and agriculture in Cotati, tending to the animals, caring for the garden, and learning about daily life on a working farm. This camp has limited space so enroll early to ensure your spot. Please send your child in closed toe shoes and with water and a snack each day. 

2nd Annual Cotati Music Festival, Saturday June 15th

Presented by the Cotati Chamber of Commerce. Saturday, June 15th, Time: 12:00-6:00pm Location: La Plaza Park Fee: Free! Come join in for a free event with music, dancing, food and drink vendors, and more! For more information, call  707-795-5508  or visit

Summer Movies in The Park 

Fridays, June 7th, July 19th, August 6th, and September 13th Location: La Plaza Park

Come join us for a free movie in La Plaza park each month this summer!  We will begin the show approximately 15 minutes after sunset on each date.  Refreshments will be available for purchase.

Fee: Free! Movies: June 7th – The Goonies 

More scheduled movies:

Cotati Heart & Soul By Deborah Taylor-French


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