Santa Cruz, CA | 1626 km from Lower Mainland
In 1985, Larry and Sandra were visiting the beautiful and remote Baja Peninsula when it became apparent to them that the subsistence farmers, who were eking out meager livings on their small acreages, could do much better under organic production. Larry also envisioned a co-op business partnership between his 30 acre family farm Jacobs Farm, and the Baja growers. Jacobs Farm, located in Pescadero California, had established a niche market in San Francisco since 1980 through its sales of certified organic culinary herbs to specialty stores and restaurants. Market demand was growing in California, resulting in an increasing shortage of organic produce especially during the US winter months. With a Baja alliance, Larry could supply the Californian market and beyond with organic produce year-round. The co-op partnership could become a symbiotic relationship beneficial to all parties.
To combat devastating insect invasions, Larry performed miracles with beneficial insects, thus earning him the name "El Milagro Lorenzo." Concoctions of dried seaweed, milk and sugar were applied to attract "good" insects and foliar feed plants. Beneficial insects were raised in insect cages and later released in fields. Since the use of beneficial insects in agriculture was unfamiliar to Mexican growers and government officials, Larry had to contend with government extension workers recommending chemical sprays while he was introducing beneficial insects. To win over local government officials, he began running regular seminars teaching how beneficial insects work in a farm ecosystem and how chemicals disrupt their impact. It wasn't long before the same government workers, now convinced of the effectiveness of beneficial insects, were also recommending organic practices to growers.