Agroecology Comes Alive at Condor’s Hope

Steve Gliessman and Robbie Jaffe’s Cuyama Valley Vineyard

Cuyama, California; students, friends and family after zinfandel harvest, Condor’s Hope Vineyard | Credit: Macduff Everton

“If I can’t do it, how can I teach it?” asks Steve Gliessman, who worked as a professor at UC Santa Cruz for more than three decades while also developing a dry-farmed, organic vineyard on the arid flanks of the Cuyama Valley with his wife, Robbie Jaffe. “This place really became our expression of how to do agroecology.”

Agroecology is a field that Gliessman helped create in the early 1970s. That’s when he hybridized academic theories learned at UCSB with practical experience, based on post-college years of farming coffee plantations in Costa Rica and tropical crops with the Maya people of Mexico. 

“It’s an integrated approach to farming and the food system,” said Gliessman. “It is a science, using the whole field of ecology to understand how all of the living and nonliving pieces of a farming system connect and interact. But it is also a practice, based on generations of farming knowledge. You link the science to the practice and turn it into a movement for change, a foundation for changing our food systems so that sustainability in all its parts, from ecological to social, are included.”

As a free community newspaper, we must evolve to thrive in the digital space. If our reporting on Santa Barbara County matters to you, we hope you will support the Independent through a digital subscription to Breaking news, critical content, and our print publication will always remain free.

Transact payments script could not be loaded respects your privacy, does not display advertisements, and does not sell your data.

To enable payment or login you will need to allow third party scripts from

Cookies are disabled respects your privacy, does not display advertisements, and does not sell your data.

To enable purchase or subscriptions you will need to enable cookies.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.