Larry wasn’t ready to commit to farming right out of college. He avoided seed sales and became an engineer and helped develop what is known today as a USB port.
“I'm not going to be a farmer and I want to be an engineer.” - Larry Kandarian
The cutthroat business life didn’t satisfy Larry’s need to help the world in the way he wanted. So he decided to return to his family’s agricultural roots and became Bodger Seed Company’s assistant manager and engineer, managing more than 50 ranches. But entrepreneurship called him.
“I was 30, but feeling my oats and I can't keep working for people. So I haven't worked for anybody since I was 30. For 45 years I've been working for me.” - Larry Kandarian
Larry ventured to California’s Central Valley for a period of time, managing several hundred acres. He settled his growing family on the Central Coast and began experimenting with ancient grains and flowers.
After many trials and errors, Larry says he likes to get out of the way and let things happen.
“Once you get in tune with the soil...it's an awful lot easier. We do soil first and then when we get soil, our terroir then grows good crops that give you nutrient dense foods that make your body hum.”
- Larry Kandarian
Farming like an Engineer
Larry tests and analyzes and observes seeds, growing stages and plant needs.
“Get the hell out of the way and see what happens.”- Larry Kandarian
“The plants all talk to you. Listen.”- Larry Kandarian
Where some people see weeds, Larry sees the exchanges and deals going on beneath the surface that grants his crops nutrients and healthy cycles.
“The plants all work together and it really helps to build the soil.”- Larry Kandarian
Larry says education is the key as he travels to about 15 markets, each week, from Marin County down to San Diego. His seeds are known around the world but he says people are genuinely good, no matter where or how you meet them.
“And kindness, I think, is the best antiviral. So, you know, if you just kind to people and are fair, people are generally so very, very good.”- Larry Kandarian
Agriculture, Not Agribusiness
Larry challenges monoculture farmers to consider regenerative and polyculture farming.
“Where you're not building anything is actually agribusiness, not agriculture.”- Larry Kandarian
Farming for the Future
“I want to see us stay here. I'd like to see my children and grandchildren have a planet, a little blue marble to enjoy as much as I have.”- Larry Kandarian
While farming can be seen as romantic, Larry is working towards scaling his operation to be more efficient while focusing first on building soil.
“Right now, we're doing way too much work, too much hobby farming. And it sounds romantic and all that, but it's an awful lot of work and the same amount of work you could do ten times the number of animals.”- Larry Kandarian
Larry says he’ll continue to provide educational opportunities for many and help others understand his farm and methods.
“But for me, I'm going to do my part and it's like eating an elephant, we do a bite at a time.”
- Larry Kandarian
Larry’s parting comments about his efforts:
“My mantra is: food is your medicine.”- Larry Kandarian