Remembering Lorri Duckworth

Category: Blog, Environmental Education, Inspired Forward, IOOBY, Nature Camp, Nature for All, Outdoor Equity, Partners, Rooting Youth in Nature, Youth Programs

By LandPaths Staff

April 30, 2024

Lorri Duckworth was one of those small family farmers who genuinely loved her produce. Even more so, she loved how people from all over the Bay Area, especially families with children, relished those blueberries and everything about that land that came with them.  
Lorri was not just about developing a thriving farm business with her husband Oscar. She was about offering a U-pick experience that allowed people to feel that they were also tending the land, so that bodies and souls were fed.  

Sure, Duckworth Family Farm in Sebastopol is as picturesque and quaint a place as you might find on a postcard, but to Lorri, every inch was real, and reflected a fierce work ethic to get it right. And the farm succeeded because of that true north of getting it right.  

Lorri and Oscar took pastureland and creek that had been degraded over time, and through Sonoma Ag+ Open Space, they invested in protecting the land forever. I would imagine that whatever we invested as county taxpayers to keep the farm as open space, the Duckworths put those dollars back into the farm five-fold, investing in outbuildings, row crops, and more.  

I re-met Lorri about five years ago, as she faced a phalanx of no less than three resource agency professionals with differing opinions about how she was stewarding the creek at the farm.

What I saw in Lorri was a Joan of Arc spirit, who did her homework, and convinced those involved that she was actually increasing water flow and habitat, and that they simply needed to see it for themselves on the land rather than in aerial photographs. She did not blink, just fearless.  
Lorri loved sharing her farm, including weaving looms and farm-made blueberry ice cream, the ponds, the donkeys, and even the pizza oven, with thousands of families over the course of the last few years.

 That group includes summer nature campers with LandPaths, who were among the fortunate to visit the land, and see the connections between farming and food.  
In 2023, Duckworth Family Farm was visited on LandPaths’ field trips by nearly 100 high schoolers and middle schoolers from Roseland University Prep, Santa Rosa Middle School, and Ridgeway High School. In total that year, 229 youth visited Duckworth Family Farms from July 2022 to June 2023, with the youngest being 3rd graders to seniors in high school.  

“I feel so safe here,” said a 3rd grader from Cinnabar Charter school as they looked over a trellis into the farm’s garden.  

Last summer, dozens more youth from Santa Rosa City Schools attended summer nature camp at Duckworth Family Farm. “This is the best blueberry I’ve ever tasted!” declared one camper, before thanking the plants.  

Lorri and Oscar made this possible. We thank them endlessly, sincerely. And we wish the Duckworth family comfort and peace during this difficult time.  

– Written by Craig Anderson, Executive Director of External Affairs at LandPaths

Lorri, at the loom, during a field training with LandPaths’ youth team and volunteers at the farm.

Scroll to Top