Benjamin started farming in 1996 and combined his love of building with plants to help establish and retrofit land projects and farming systems throughout central California and internationally. Over the last 20 years his approach to ecological farming and land stewardship has produced community gardens to vibrant urban rooftop farms. His professional training includes bio-intensive market farming, permaculture and keyline design, natural building and a diversity of teaching in natural resource management and permaculture. He has a unique gift in reading the landscape to design regenerative systems that work with nature to help restore mutually beneficial relationships.
His love for the earth is shared with his love for seeds and the vital importance of what a seed keeper means in these times of historical climatic shifts worldwide. 'Farmer Ben' accompanied the April Fishes on their BUILD tour in 2012 with a suitcase of seeds to share at the 54 shows over 12 weeks that included over 22 border crossings. He believes that seeds belong to the Commons, and Rupa saw how they were helping to plant gardens through the music. He loves Rupa as her life partner and their two sons and is excited by the challenges and the opportunities that lie before us as a culture in how we figure out how to live in harmony together and with the natural world.
In 2012, I fell deeply in love with a farmer. From the first moment in his arms, I knew my life would be forever changed and I felt every cell of my being surrender. Literally the opposite lifestyle to a musician who makes life happen through the movement of the air and who moves with the wind is the lifestyle of a farmer who is married to the earth and commits to loving and improving that specific soil over time. When I fell hard for this farmer, it was a time of drought. And the drought continued for several years. So in 2015, I wrote this love song for my beautiful Farmer Ben. What better way to write a love song for a farmer in a time of drought than to sing the rain down? Later that year, it started raining. And raining and raining and raining and raining.
And thankfully, our drought is over for now.
Try it. Sing your wish into being.
Arugula is one of our favorite greens and this seed was sourced from Farmer Ben’s rooftop farm in Berkeley. Known as the basic arugula, this is a plant of vibrant production. We originally sourced in 2016 from Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed in Washington State. Arugula prefers cool conditions, a fertile, well-drained soil, growing in full sun to part shade.
Directly seed into the garden at 1/8" deep in early spring onward at about 30 seeds per foot Seeds germinate in 5-7 days. Keep soil moist for a prolonged harvest. In harvesting cut just above soil level. For a cut-and-come-again production cut 2-3 inches above soil and make sure to leave the center for regrowth. After plants flower, the leaves can still be used but taste is much more spicy and the flowers are also edible.