History & Philosophy
In 1952, Abe and Eve Crittenden created a philosophy to share an enchanted place on the Sonoma Coast and transformed it into a summer farm camp for children. This vision, which continues today, was to create a community where people could live in peace with each other and nature, while having fun and building strong relationships. In 1971 Abe and Eve transitioned the directorship to David and Ginny Crittenden who lived at the camp with their three children for several years.
In 1985, David and Suzanne Brown purchased the camp and directed the program for 19 years. They carried Abe and Eve’s vision into the 21st century, while maintaining the history and traditions that make Farm Camp special.
In 2004, David and Suzanne passed the torch to John Chakan and Kelly Marston, who honored the generations that came before them by continuing and growing the traditions and programs for the past decade.
In the fall of 2013, David and Suzanne met with their longtime friends from camping, Scott and Don Whipple, and decided to partner with them in running Farm Camp. In 2014 they brought on Alex Yost to run the camp office and Chris Corrigan to direct the program in the summers, adding Kara Giacinto in 2016 to complete the current team of directors.
Farm Camp is situated on the traditional homeland of the Kashaya Pomo tribe and in proximity to the surrounding lands of the Patwin, Wappo, Wintun, Miwok and Pomo tribes (cite: Sonoma County Indigenous People’s day resolution, native-land.ca). We recognize the Kashaya Pomo as the ancestral and present day stewards of the land we inhabit.
From the lush open meadows and towering redwood forests, to the winding gulches and rocky coastal bluffs, we owe every aspect of the land Farm Camp operates on to generations of Kashaya Pomo people’s unceasing leadership and care.
At the heart of Farm Camp’s philosophy is a commitment to care for our neighbors and remain mindful of our impact on our environment and community. We are privileged to operate on this land and pledge to do our best to care for and honor it, with the utmost gratitude and deference to its ancestral and present day Pomo stewards.
We acknowledge the atrocities, genocide and forced removal inflicted upon the original inhabitants of this land by occupying Spanish, English, Russian, Mexican and American settlers. Despite attempted displacement by invading forces and systemic government infringement on tribal rights and sovereignty; the Pomo have persisted and flourished to this day — actively protecting and cultivating their values, culture, and traditions.
We commit to continue learning about the history and culture of the indigenous people whose land we occupy. We take responsibility for sharing the history of the Pomo tribe, legacy of indigenous survivance, and the present day impact of colonialism and genocide, with all who visit Farm Camp.
We take accountability for and commit to work towards dismantling the legacy of white supremacy and violence against indigenous people in the camping industry. Summer camps and the camping & recreational industry have a specific, entrenched history of cultural appropriation, anti-indigenous policies, and racist exclusionary practices. As a team and as individuals, we will take actions to appreciate and uplift indigenous communities and indigenous people’s rights locally and beyond.
In decades gone by, a hotel and stage coach stop served as the timber and sheep operations of the Sonoma Coast meadows and redwood canyons. While the hotel no longer stands, many of these historic original buildings still remain and provide a timeless aura to the site that is now Farm Camp, continuing to draw people to gather, relax, have fun, and enjoy this place in the sun.
Along the coast near camp is Fort Ross State Historic Park. In 1812 the Russians built a permanent base at Fort Ross, which was the main source of the fur animal they sought: the sea otter. This fort was the southernmost settlement of the Russians in North America. Every summer, during Living History Day, life is reenacted in the 18th century and is a popular field trip for campers.