How can you create a purposeful farm culture in the middle of a city?

On today’s episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, Evan Marks is joining us from Orange County, California. He is the Founder and Executive Director of The Ecology Center, which is not only a farm but a nonprofit education center that is passionate about putting the culture back in agriculture. 

Located on a historic agricultural property that is today surrounded by urban sprawl, The Ecology Center is a 28-acre Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm and education center that serves as a hub for southern California’s ecological movement. With over 100,000 visitors a year, their farm produces everything from CSA boxes, flowers, and ferments to farm experiences, including educational classes and camps, an apprenticeship program, and weekly community dinners with world-class chefs. 

Tune in to this episode to hear all about how this thriving non-profit farm and education center conducts business!

In this episode, you’ll hear…

  • How Evan ended up back in Orange County 1:48
  • The history of the property where The Ecology Center is located 4:08
  • About the soil type and fertility on the farm 9:32
  • More about the different teams and roles at the center 14:12
  • About their Regenerative Organic Certification 17:33
  • How they grew from 1 acre to 28 acres 25:29
  • More about their educational programs 32:32
  • Evan’s advice for a beginner farmer 33:33
  • The importance of pivoting your farm plans when things aren’t working 37:00
  • What Evan’s favorite tool is 47:05
  • About the Four Core Principles of The Ecology Center 50:55

About the Guest:

From studying Agroecology to working in Indigenous and traditional agricultural systems around the world to founding The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano in 2008, Evan has dedicated his life to finding creative solutions for the most urgent problems facing our food system.   



This podcast is sponsored by Small Farm University, THE go-to resource for gardeners, homesteaders, and farmers around the world. Small Farm University delivers classes online and on demand, with training on how to grow crops AND how to grow a profitable farm business that serves you, your family, and your community well. 

Applying what you learn in SFU could save you countless hours and thousands of dollars. And, it can save you the agony of costly mistakes some make, just because they “don’t know what they don’t know.”

Delivered by real farmers with hands-on experience and expertise, it is unique in its approach, using the RIPEN method for growing and building a farm or farm business.

To learn more, visit Growing Farmers today!