Our #LiveFull series is back featuring Joe Gardiner of Treehouse California Almonds - farmer and Simple Mills almond supplier! Not only does Joe play a big role in supporting Simple Mills by supplying almonds, but his family's farm operation is also leading the implimentation of The Almond Project, helping us to pave the way for a more sustainable future in almond farming.
#LiveFull is all about finding your groove and getting things done so that you can feel your best. It's about finding what fuels you so that you can accomplish anything. Sometimes food can be a big part of that. Read on to find out how Joe Gardiner embodies Live Full!
What got you started in almond farming?
After WWII, my grandfather came to the San Joaquin Valley and started farming row crops (tomatoes, potatoes, cotton etc.). My father actually wrote his Masters thesis on feasibility of almond farming in California. It wasn’t until 1982 (same year my oldest brother Jimmy was born) that my dad planted his first almond orchard. We continue to farm row crops but almonds are by far the majority of the food we grow.
What are you most excited about with The Almond Project?
I am excited to bring a diverse group of stakeholders to the farm, to bring transparency to the supply chain, and have open and honest conversation about our family farm practices.
Did you ever think you’d have sheep grazing on your farm?
No, this is a new one for me but it’s an exciting concept. To maximize the entire orchard from growing nutrient rich almonds to now sustaining sheep that are another protein source and of course sustainable clothing source. Fruitful agricultural land is decreasing every year as populations encroachment continues as well as climate change displacing once productive land. The ability of sheep to improve soil health is fantastic, but growing another protein and fiber source on the same amount of land with same inputs is what gets me excited.
What do you do when you’re not on the farm?
I help manage the day to day sales at Treehouse California Almonds. I have the unique opportunity to connect with customers, share our farm story and enable them to be proud of where they source their almonds from.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
Building a deeper connection with my family and ground we steward. My brothers and I, as the 3rd generation, have been truly blessed to have been raised on a farm and taught to be honest stewards of the land and livestock we care for. Continuing to innovate and work together, will ensure that our passion for farming will be passed on to the next generation.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are not too exciting. Typically, I will have a few customer meetings set in which we discuss new product lines, almond market forecast and any additional customer service needs. I’ll take a walk through the factory to meet with operators, check quality as products come through the various production lines.
What does ‘living full’ mean to you and what is something you do that helps you live full?
Living full to me is making my family proud, having a wife that loves and respects me and a son that looks up to me the same way I look up to my father.