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Meet Our Board—Justin Miller

Justin Miller is the Founder of Twin Peaks Orchard. He serves on the CCOF Board.

When Justin Miller and Camelia Enriquez married at 19 and 22 years old, they already knew they were part of a long-reaching family tradition. Her grandfather (Howard Nakae), a Placer County fruit grower, had inherited his family farm at age 14 after his own father died. Howard ran the farm with his mother Tomeo Nakae during the internment of Japanese Americans, while also taking care of his younger siblings.

A lifelong farmer, Howard Nakae inspired his granddaughter and her husband to join the family business. “We built a little cooler in our garage in Santa Rosa, and we started doing farmers’ markets,” Justin recalls. “We spent our weekends and vacations up here and made Grandpa a promise that when he passed, we’d continue the tradition. It’s an important legacy for us.”

When Camelia’s grandfather passed in 2006, the farm passed to Justin’s in-laws, while Justin and his Camelia began their own farm across the road in 2008. By 2011, their farm was fully certified organic. “We noticed that the fruit tasted better organic. We lived where we worked, and we wanted to do what’s best for ourselves, our environment, and the land that we steward. It’s also better for the people—no one wants to work with dangerous chemicals,” Justin says. “Not only was going organic an ethical decision, but also a financial one. You get all the benefits and you’re also much better positioned in the marketplace.”

In August 2020, a fire destroyed much of their farm’s infrastructure, including a 100-year-old packing shed. “We merged the two farms after that and transitioned all of it to be certified organic,” Justin recalls. “Our team has really embraced it. Everybody prefers the health and well-being of it, and the taste and nutritional benefits of organic have been huge for us.”

Camelia’s grandfather remained a large influence in Justin’s life. “He believed strongly in serving the community a whole,” Justin explains. “He was always on boards; he worked as chairperson of the Forestry Board under Regan and Brown; he was chair of the Blue Anchor co-op; he was always involved in everything.” After reading the man’s memoir, Justin became inspired to do more in his community. “I started volunteering for more things. I put my name up for the CCOF Board.” Justin also serves as chairperson of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Small-Scale Producer Advisory Committee and is on the board of the Sebastopol farmers’ market, among other roles.

Justin values the community he’s built by serving on the CCOF Board. “Sometimes you’re so isolated as a famer,” Justin observes, “it’s great to have that camaraderie of other people going through similar struggles, rewards, and achievements to share it all with. Both my wife and I have strong principles, and everyone we’ve met and interacted with at CCOF genuinely cares about what they’re doing. They believe in the mission and put their money where their mouth is. They’re not just speaking to stuff, but actually advocating for real change.”

“I’m not just serving on a board that isn’t doing anything. I’m actually affecting change by doing it. That’s why I’m proud of serving on the CCOF Board.”

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