"Owlinor"
"Owlinor"

Our Resident Screech Owl

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View of the Santa Barbara Mission from M
View of the Santa Barbara Mission from M

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Mother Oak
Mother Oak

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Welcome to 

Mother Oak Farms

An Urban/Wild Land Farmstay

and Educational Farming Initiative in Santa Barbara, CA

Above the storied Spanish, American Colonial, English Tudor, and Franco-Norman architecture of the historic community of San Roque is a 3.12 acre hilltop farm. Here, among the Santa Barbara Foothills, you can connect with Mother Earth, find respite, or wrestle with the land, while hearing the Santa Barbara Mission bells toll from beneath the canopy of our 250+ year-old live coastal oak tree, our farm's beloved centerpiece. We call her "Mother Oak."


 

About Mother Oak Farms

Place Consciousness

Here, we are urban interfacing with glorious city, ocean, sunrise and sunset views, and walking distance to Upper State Street and all city life has to offer. 

But from the side of the farm that faces the east, the landscape changes to agricultural with sweeping hillside, native chaparral and canyons, to boulders and slabs of sandstone and pines that dot La Cumbre Peak and Figueroa Mountain, both a part of the Transverse Ranges in the Los Padres National Forest notorious for hiking, climbing, and spring wildflowers. 


From Mother Oak Farms, you have nearly 360 degrees of views that alters and changes as quickly the sun rises or sets, or the fog rolls in with the weather. The Pacific Ocean and mountains feel so close you can touch them. 

Catch a glimpse of a deer or bobcat, or a bear or mountain lion, if you are incredibly lucky, or spend a day birdwatching the acorn woodpeckers, brush jays, California quail, and soaring red-tailed and sharp-shinned hawks. At night, you'll hear the lonesome coyote howl or be greeted by the sight of our resident Western Screech owl we call “Owlinor”from her knock in Mother Oak.

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Humble Beginnings 

Tonia Allen Gould

Tonia Gould is a land use strategist who has worked in Central America for environmental good through her social entrepreneurial project, Finding Corte Magore. Due to the pandemic, her initiatives in both Nicaragua and Belize halted. Searching for her family’s new home, she stumbled upon a hillside property in need of human invention. It got her to thinking, why not deploy her environmental learning from Central America right here in Santa Barbara? The hillside surrounding her small farm was inaccessible, badly eroding, and its 50 year-old avocado grove was barely producing. To top it all off, the property’s native, coastal chapparal, rife with wildlife, was also thick with fire ladder fuel, which was especially disheartening since the land had already burned in the Jesusita fire. 

Once escrow closed in October of 2020, Tonia hit the ground running on her new farm, with the support of her family and ranch hand, Jose Antonio. But her first course of order was saving the property’s beloved, 250+ year-old live coastal oak tree, the immense and beautiful cornerstone to farm. “Mother Oak,” became her moniker. But "she" appeared to be leaning towards the slope, and was dense and heavy with foliage. The arborists removed 4000+ pounds off her boughs. 


Since taking possession of the farm, Tonia and her family enjoy watching it come alive. Where the grove only yielded about 400 pounds of Haas avocados per harvest over the past decade, it has since yielded over 2300 pounds at harvest time ever since Tonia donned her new farmer’s cap, utilizing permaculture techniques without using herbicides, pesticides, or rodenticides.


Make no mistake, Mother Oak Farms is  work in progress, and Tonia is a new farmer. Despite this, she's committed to her craft, and loves to engage in educational and community outreach initiatives on the farm by deploying what she knows or seeking consult for what she doesn't. She loves to learn as she goes. A few minutes with her and you’ll hear about her love for the land and her interest in community engagement and educational initiatives from this lovely farm that sits along the urban/wild land interface of beautiful Santa Barbara, California.

 

Proud Member

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Our 2300 pound Avocado harvest

with even more to come in the future!

 

Meet Connor Jones, Mother Oak Farms Project Manager and Permaculture Expert

In this video, Connor ta​lks about a miracle plant called Vetiver Grass and how we utilize it to control erosion on our vulnerable hillside and further support our conservation efforts.

 

Preserving the Land Comes First

 
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Here your worries slip away as you breathe the fresh mountain and coastal air of the exalted Mediterranean climate of Santa Barbara. Here you wrestle with hillside terrain and immerse yourself in wildlife and sustainable land use strategies. Here you marvel at glorious sunrises and sunsets and can be as involved as little or as much as you want to be. 


At Mother Oak Farms, an educational urban farming collaborative and farmstay, you are smack dab in the center of the urban/wildland interface and you learn as you grow or grow as you learn while leaving your mark on land once called the Jewel of Santa Barbara. 

 
View from Mother Oak Farms

Marvel at the Spectacular Views

Located above the Santa Barbara Mission

Here your worries slip away as you breathe the fresh mountain and coastal air of the exalted Mediterranean climate of Santa Barbara. Here you wrestle with hillside terrain and immerse yourself in wildlife and sustainable land use strategies. Here you marvel at glorious sunrises and sunsets and be as involved as little or as much as you want to be. 


At Mother Oak Farms, an educational urban farming collaborative and farmstay, you are smack dab in the center of the urban/wildland interface and you learn as you grow or grow and you learn while leaving your mark on land once called the Jewel of Santa Barbara. 

 

Wildlife Preservation

Urban Farming and Wildlife Preservation Can Go Hand in Hand. We choose to not just co-exist with wildlife, we choose to create a safe haven that embraces living on the urban wild land interface.

Gardening Tools
 
 
California Quail

Local Bird Watching on the Farm

"Children are some of the most enthusiastic birders. Their wonderment of seeing and learning something new, especially in nature, is exciting to watch. The biggest regret of most birders is that we didn’t start younger." John E. Ruiutta

 
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Intimate Gatherings

A Haven for Creative Growth

Mother Oak Farms is committed to creating a platform for singers, songwriters, artists, and creatives of all types to showcase their talent and contribute to our community. We host a number of gatherings throughout the year to highlight local Santa Barbara artists and musicians, all on the farm itself. At our most recent congregation, a number of close friends watched a soulful performance by a few local Santa Barbara artists. Pictured here are singer/songwriters David Segall and Josh Jenkins.

 

#Farmstay in our vintage Airstream

Our 1970 29' Vintage Airstream Makes its Way to Mother Oak Farms

 

Forum Resources

Good to Know

We’re always updating you on the Happenings at Mother Oak Farms while browsing the web for the latest news and updates on news that may interest you. Here you’ll find a collection of the most recent articles and resources about relevant topics we've gleaned. We regularly search the web in order to provide community members with the latest, so check back often for great new stories.

Avocado

BEST PRACTICES FOR CALIFORNIA AVOCADO GROVES IMPACTED BY EXCESSIVE HEAT

February 18, 2021

Gardening

Hands-on Intentional Gardening Workshop Announced

December 2020

Gardener

Ventura Brush Goats Pull Out of Mother Oak Farms

November 2020

Gardening Tools

Product Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

June 24, 2020