MEET AMIGO BOB
One of the most widely experienced and influential figures in California organic agriculture, Amigo Bob Cantisano (aka) The Godfather of Organics and perhaps best known as the founding organizer of the annual Ecological Farming Conference, which is the largest sustainable- agriculture gathering in the Western United States. Recognized among conference-goers for his adept leadership of Eco-Farm’s popular bus tour of Central Coast organic farms—and for sporting his trademark shorts and sandals no matter what the weather— Amigo (a high-school girlfriend gave him the nickname) has been involved with diverse aspects of organic foods and farming since the late 1960s. In 1990 he and his wife Kalita Todd received the Stewards of Sustainable Agriculture (Sustie) award from the Ecological Farming Association.
Cantisano is a ninth-generation Californian, directly descended from a lieutenant in the 1775-76 Juan Bautista de Anza expedition, which created the first land route between New Spain and Alta California. He began gardening in earnest while living on communes in Northern California.
While living on the shores of Lake Tahoe in the early 1970s, Cantisano and some friends started a natural foods buying club. This evolved into a wholesale distribution company and retail storefront, eventually introducing him to many organic growers and producers in California and beyond. He was involved in early efforts to certify organic farms and products, helping to found California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), and he collaborated in the production of an early organic-products trade journal.
Amigo Bob Cantisano is president of Organic Ag Advisors, founded in 1988. He is the managing partner of Heaven and Earth Farm on the San Juan Ridge of the Sierra foothills. Amigo has over 40 years of experience growing and advising in most organic crops grown in the Western U.S. and the tropics, including vegetables, tree and bush fruit, grapes, herbs and flowers.He advises more than 250 organic and transitional farmers, and hundreds of family farmers and gardeners worldwide. His clients range from small specialty crop growers to producers of thousands of acres of mainstream crops. His clients farm more than 90,000 acres of organic and transitional crops. Amigo is the co founder of the Ecological Farming Conference, the Ecological Farming Association, founding member of California Certified Organic Farmers and founder of: Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, We The People Natural Foods Cooperative, Aeolia Organics, Starr Farms, Heaven and Earth Farm, and the Felix Gillet Institute .Amigo lives and farms on 11 acres of mixed fruits, berries and vegetables on the San Juan Ridge of the Sierra Nevada, where he is teaching young people and his grandchildren how to farm and live with nature.