Paul Buxman is a local farmer who has brought small farms to the public’s attention. For decades, he has also highlighted the importance of sustainable farming. After Paul’s son was diagnosed with leukemia at an early age, he probed the cause of the illness. When he found out that well water had become toxic with pesticides, he decided it was time for a change. Paul then founded California Clean to promote an ecologically-based farming that contributed to clean air, safe water and earth care. During this time, he tried experiments with his farming practices. One of these was to try “naked farming” without the use of carcinogenic substances. While his techniques changed over time, he maintained his goal to farm in ways that promoted ecological balance.
The California Clean movement gained national and international press coverage. PBS, National Geographic, Australian and Canadian broadcasts visited the farm to tape news segments. Even some films were made documenting California Clean and telling Paul’s story to the world. Paul met with prominent policy makers like Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa as he made recommendations to legislation like US Farm Bills. The EPA awarded California Clean with the first ever IPM award for “helping to reduce pesticide in California.”
Over the years, Paul has contributed to his community in many ways. He helped fellow farmers with advice on how to better market their farms and goods. His plein air paintings have told the story of the beauty of the San Joaquin Valley’s farms, waterways and foothills. He also reached out to help kids who were at risk by donating his time, experience and portions of his farm so that they could learn farming and an appreciation of food while earning some extra money.
As a conservationist, Paul was among the first farmers in Tulare County to partner with Sequoia Riverlands Trust in an agricultural conservation easement.
Paul has inspired us to consider if one person can make this much of a difference, imagine what several people could do.