Jean Okuye

Okuye Farms

Jean didn’t hesitate when a sudden death left untended the family farm where her husband Paul was raised. She and Paul immediately uprooted their two children and traded their Santa Barbara tract-home for the creaky 60-year-old family farmhouse near Livingston and 80 acres of almonds. In 2008, after her husband lost his battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Jean permanently protected the farm from development.  She applied for a conservation easement for the farm because of the  threat of development from an expanding city nearby. 

Protecting the family farm is just one of the many ways Jean is promoting sustainability.  A tireless advocate, she is active in a handful of nonprofits. From regularly appearing at county supervisors meetings, to writing grant applications, she has an Energizer-bunny like dedication to her cause. Whether her latest project is healthy soils, solar panels, or farmland conservation, it all ties together.  “It’s all for saving farmland and taking care of our earth,” she says.