Unconventional Conversion: Cultivating Sustainability in Citrus and Avocado Orchards

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2003: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: avocados


  • Animal Production: preventive practices, grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: biological control, physical control, weeder geese/poultry
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems

    Proposal summary:

    The 100-year-old practice of growing citrus and avocado in Ventura County is being eroded by foreign competition, degraded topsoil and increasingly scarce water. Citrus and avocado orchards are giving way to nurseries, row crops and development. Project coordinator Zachary Griffin proposes to depart from the traditional monoculture, pesticide-reliant system. He will open up alleys between orange trees; plant leguminous trees to feed the soil with nitrogen and organic matter; plant a border of deciduous trees to protect against wind, frost and heat; and sow seasonal vegetables for market – carrots, dill, onions, parsley, squash and sunflower – along with cover crops like clover and vetch. At the end of the grant, he will analyze the soil to assess soil-building progress and share his results with other farmers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.