Alan Haight and Jo McProud - Riverhill Farm

Almost 20 years ago, Alan Haight and Jo McProud transformed a dry grassland with a couple of ponds into a profitable farm and an oasis for birds and other wildlife.

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Alan Haight and Jo McProud of Riverhill Farm in Nevada City, California. Photo from

Alan and Jo's goal was to increase the biodiversity on their farm. Ornithologists and entomologists tell them they've succeeded. Counts show there are now more birds and insect life on the farm than in the surrounding natural landscape. Beauty is everywhere you look, thanks to Jo's skills as a landscape architect and to Alan's sense of "the more diversity, the better."

They have sculpted the farm using crops, native vegetation and permeable fencing that allows for water and beneficial wildlife to flow right through, while holding the soil in place and reaping some pest control along the way. 

As farmer-naturalists, Alan and Jo look at ways to blend their need to be productive with their interest in giving back to wild nature. Supporting the wild with habitat is one way to do that. Recently, Alan and Jo have leased their farm business to Antonio Garza and Daylin Wade, but they still live on the property, managing the farm's edges and wildlands.

Click here for more information on Riverhill Farm