.The Students

Way Beyond Organic

By Christina Waters

I wouldnÕt touch describing him with a 10-foot pole,” laughs Christine Williams, a Healdsburg gardener who studied under Bob Cannard at Santa Rosa Junior College. “He really is hard to pin down.” Williams found Cannard a charming instructor (“Women really have to watch his charismatic power,” she notes), as well as a gifted teacher who had the information she needed to improve her gardens and orchards, and grow food with vitality. “In the process of being out on his farm, to which he generously gave me free access, I picked food for a friend who was in recovery for lymphatic cancer. Over six months of picking, I was able to watch the growth and what he does as a farmer–that was more of an education than anything. I’m just beginning to realize how lucky I was.”

Cannard’s approach, of listening to the crops, is nature’s approach, Williams believes. “He truly does draw from nature, rather than impute. He’s not a shaman, he’s observant and connected. I’d call him more of a Luther Burbank, because he truly does get his information directly from the soil, from the plants.”

In Williams’ assessment, “He really and truly is beyond organic–almost a healer who grows, and teaches people to grow, their own medicine. And he’s been doing it for so long that he’s almost flippant about it.”

From the April 4-10, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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