Inspector Profile: Matthew Werner, Ph.D.

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Date Published: 
August 25, 2014

“I went to school back east for a whole bunch of years (SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse) and earned a Ph.D. in soil ecology; then came out to Santa Cruz for a postdoc at UCSC. That evolved into a Research Specialist position, and I spent 10 years doing projects in organic strawberries, apples, and artichokes. I then got into buffer zones and non-point source pollution issues around Elkhorn Slough and various other projects.

Throughout my career in science I was always exploring ways of being creative including music, writing, and performance. Eventually I discovered woodworking, spent a year studying fine furniture making at the College of the Redwoods up in Mendocino, and have been working at my own business making stuff out of wood ever since (15 years now!). When business slowed during the 2008 recession, I learned that CCOF was looking for organic inspectors. I completed the IOIA training in 2009 in Pennsylvania, and have been doing 50 to 60 grower inspections per year since. It’s a nice balance to my creative work (which is now in demand again), gets me out into all the beautiful rural parts of our central coast — meeting and interacting with the folks who grow the food we enjoy eating.”