Daniel (he/him) grew up at the base of a fourteen-thousand-foot mountain in far Northern California and has loved plants all his life. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Plant Sciences and an emphasis in Crop production and Viticulture. After college he went to work for a pesticide and fertilizer retailer as a consultant and salesman of these products. During this time he looked at over 10,000 acres/week of wine grapes, almonds, pistachios, processing tomatoes, alfalfa, and every crop in-between. He learned an incredible amount, but also saw first-hand the detriment pesticides have on ecological systems and the air and water we all depend on. An opportunity arose to work on a 1000 acre organic vegetable farm as the pest management and fertility specialist. He jumped at the opportunity and immediately figured out that it was indeed possible to grow large amounts of food in a more sustainable way. It was here that Daniel became invigorated with the ecological systems of pests and diseases, and how to intervene in ways that would disrupt these cycles but not at the expense of our environment. I took a deep dive into how the health of the soil translated to plant health. He then set out to expand his influence from just those 1000 acres to the broader agricultural systems and to try and promote systemic change. He currently works as an extension agent and works with a diverse group of growers using many practices. Guest teaching a course like this is exactly the type of knowledge he wants to promote!
“I want people to feel excited about plants and the food that they eat. I want people to grow their own food and feel rebellious, but also the deep biological connection we all have to plants and the rich soils that they grow in. If I can help you feel passionate about plants and how to grow them, then I feel like I am on my way to fulfilling my greatest goal.”