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Meet Our Board—Andrea Davis-Cetina

by Gaea Denker |

Andrea Davis-Cetina is the founder of Quarter Acre Farm. She serves on the CCOF Board.

Andrea grew up in Maryland, surrounded by disappearing farmland, where the fields and barns of her childhood showed her the importance of sustainability and community. While attending Hampshire College (where her studies focused on local food systems), she began working on the college farm and fell in love with agriculture. Andrea spent her summers apprenticing on farm operations up and down the East Coast.

After graduating, Andrea moved to Sonoma, California, and started creating edible gardens and landscapes for restaurants and private clients. In 2008, she jumped at the opportunity to lease a quarter acre of land from a fellow farmer—which was the start of Quarter Acre Farm.

After outgrowing the original quarter acre, in 2010 Andrea moved to a half-acre parcel and decided to get formally certified organic with CCOF. But there was one catch—could she qualify, or was her operation too small? Quarter Acre Farm was only making about $5,000 in sales at the time. “I thought I was too small, but I chatted with someone at CCOF, and they were super welcoming,” Andrea remembers. “I thought, wow, I can hang out with the cool kids!”

Andrea pursued and achieved her organic certification. “For me,” Andrea says, “that transition was more of a mental thing than a production element, because I was already doing it. I didn’t have to change anything about my production methods. My land already had three years of no other inputs.”

Organic certification made sense. “I’d have customers come by my farmers’ market booth and ask if I was certified organic. I’d say no, but explain how I farm, and they’d like my answers and buy from me. It took me about a year of that to realize, what about all the customers who are too busy to ask? I need a sign that says I’m organic.” Andrea laughs, “Also, I just spent 25 minutes explaining myself so a customer could buy a two-dollar bunch of carrots. So the certification made sense.”

After getting certified, Andrea became more involved with the organic community and attended more events. “I thought CCOF was so cool,” she says. “I would always stop by the CCOF booth at EcoFarm. And one time I asked about the chapter system and wondered, ‘Where’s our chapter representative?’ They told me, ‘There isn’t one currently, as the North Coast Chapter was dissolved many years back. But you could restart the chapter.’”

Inspired, Andrea got in touch with other operations in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin counties in California. Soon, the CCOF North Coast chapter was active—and Andrea was elected to the CCOF Board of Directors to represent its voice. “I wanted the growers in that region to be actively represented on the board,” she says. “I feel like board members are conduits to get info from members to leadership.”

“I enjoyed my original time on the board,” Andrea recalls, “but it wasn’t financially sustainable to continue farming in California, so I made the big decision to move cross-country.” At the end of 2017, she stepped down from the board and moved back to Maryland in 2018.

By 2019, she was back in production on the East Coast. Andrea reached out to CCOF and was soon certified organic by her very first season.

“I was far away geographically, but I knew everyone and how it worked,” Andrea says, “so I threw my hat into the ring when the At-Large Board Member position became open.” With remote work becoming more popular, she was confident she could accomplish everything from the East Coast—and so were the voters who elected her back onto the CCOF Board.

“CCOF’s roots are in California, so the perspective can sometimes be California-based,” Andrea observes. “I enjoy being involved with the board to be a conduit for perspectives from other regions. I always chime in and say, ‘Hey, let’s not forget the other people in other time zones!’ CCOF is a wonderful organization. I really enjoy being able to make sure that all voices are clearly represented.”


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