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About the Small Farms Advisor
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Margaret received her PhD from UC Davis in Plant Pathology, 2015.  Under the guidance of Tom Gordon, she researched non-chemical alternatives to soilborne disease management in strawberries.  She focused on three main topics: the role of legume rotation crops in Verticiliium dahliae management, the effect of 4 different composts on strawberry production, and a social study understanding the level of adoption of soilborne disease management tools among practitioners. She also received a masters in International Agricultural Development and Plant Pathology from UC Davis.  While at UC Davis, she established the Salad Bowl Garden, and edible garden at the entrance to the Plant and Environmental Sciences (PES) building on the main campus.
Her first agricultural job was as a farm hand on a vineyard in the Santa Cruz mountains.  It was such an inspiration that she changed her course of work towards agriculture.  After completing her undergraduate degree from Tufts University, she worked on a mixed vegetable farm in Hawaii for 9 months and then returned to start an apprenticeship with John Jeavons in Willits, CA.  For three years, she lived off the grid and studied on the research farm and the 5-acre mixed vegetable farm while making a living selling at the Willits farmer's market. Seeing opportunity for Biointensive practices in the urban and suburban landscapes, she started a small Bay Area business called Home Farming International which provided workshops and one-on-one training in closed-system, complete diet farming. 
Margaret's hobbies include her few dairy goats and laying chickens, tending a small garden, finding good music, and goofing off with friends and family.


About the Community Educators


My name is Fam Lee. My nationality is lu-Mien. I was a strawberry grower for six years in Elk Grove, CA. My parents were farmers in Laos and in Thailand.

I met Margaret through farm visits and annual meetings. It is an honor to work alongside Margaret and the team.

A little about myself: I was born in Laos and moved to Thailand in 1975. I lived in a Thialand refugee camp for five years and then moved to United States of America in 1979. I was 13 years old when I came to the U.S. and I didn't speak any English. Growing up in the U.S. my family lived in an apartment with three Chinese families, and one one of the families' kids was around my age. Because I was friends with this kid, I learned how to speak Cantonese before I learned to speak English.


Laengh Zingh (Thanks)

Fam Lee




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I grew up in a small town in Northern Vermont surrounded by small dairy and diversified vegetable farms. This early exposure to agriculture helped nurture an interest in community food systems. After high school I took a gap year, during which I studied abroad in Southeast Asia studying environmental issues facing communities living within the Mekong River Basin. During this time abroad, I focused on learning about the environmental issues facing farmers who live in the region. Upon returning to college, I translated this interest into research that focused on how smallholder vanilla growers in Eastern Africa make decisions around climate change mitigation and adaptation. After college, I spent a few years working in Vermont and Colorado before moving to California to pursue a MS in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis. While at UC Davis I studied how higher levels of soil organic carbon can impact nitrous oxide emissions in agricultural soils. While in grad school, I also worked for a local winery in Davis, where I got to take part in everything from irrigation system maintenance, to blending and bottling wines, and working in the tasting room.

In my free time you can find me exploring Northern California, walking the many trails/greenbelts that are in the area, or curled up at home with my cat, Bentley. 







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