A Pot Farmer and a Dairy Rancher Introduce Rural Humboldt to the Bay Area and Beyond

Photo by LIsa Hamilton

Many of you recognize the man in the photo above.  That is Charley Custer, environmental activist, Tea House Collective co-founder and marijuana grower.  His name, his occupation, and the county he comes from are part of a campaign to introduce urban America to rural America.

And he isn’t the only one in Humboldt Co.  Dennis Leonardi, a dairyman of Ferndale, will also be featured. In fact Leonardi will be featured on a series of posters that will be posted around Bay Area Rapit Transit.

The photos are part of a project by Lisa M. Hamilton called Real Rural. On the website she says, “…Real Rural is meant to start a new conversation, between two parts of California that are at best disconnected, and often at odds. Many people in our cities think they already know the story of rural California: who’s there and how they think, their values and their struggles. I have aimed to demonstrate that in fact this place and its people are far more diverse and dynamic than most of us from outside realize.

These two quintessential Humboldt stories show the diversity by themselves. Yet Custer points out the connection between he and Leonardi, “…[I]t strikes me how our lives at either end of Humboldt’s Eel Valley contain so much similar satisfaction and challenge.”


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