Bob Cannard has long had a love affair with weeds. He believes their energy is vital to keeping balance on the land. So weeds like mustard and amaranth can be found all over his Petaluma farm property, which isn’t your typical, tidy row crop operation.

Cannard likes to keep things a little wild as he works with nature rather than fighting against it; in the process he grows some of the most highly regarded greens around. He calls them happy, healthy plants.

“Fifty percent for nature, 50 percent for people” is his motto, meaning half his crops are grown for human consumption and half for soil improvement. Those weeds are welcome, left to grow as they please and eventually plowed back into the ground, fertilizing the soil. Who needs artificial inputs or chemical pesticides?