Tim Thornhill | Food Forward | PBS Food

Food Rebel: Tim Thornhill



Occupation Partner/Owner of Parducci Winery: Mendocino Wine Company Location Ukiah, CA Favorite Food Tilapia, brussel sprouts, and my wife’s famous salad Rebel Story I used to build botanical gardens and tree preservations projects and some wetland restorations and I took a lot of what I saw work, what was working naturally and just started applying those things to the winery. Whether it’s the gravity, the waterfalls, the trickle towers, wind energy, you name it, use what’s going on and what happens naturally as much as possible Some people call it bio-mimicry, miming what’s going on in nature and using that power.


What’s wrong with food in America? As far as food production in America, I’m really not comfortable or clear as to how well it will be maintained, or I hate to use the word sustainable, but I’m not sure it’s sustainable in its current path. I can tell you that I was growing vegetables myself, in my backyard when I was 7 years old and I haven’t stopped since. I have a real strong comfort level though that having local food production is safer- a safer thing for me not necessarily for everyone and it won’t work for everyone but I am always happy to plant seeds, and grow things, and serve it, eat it, and share it with friends. What is the biggest problem with water in America today? The biggest problem with water in America as I see it, isn’t really what’s available it’s how we use it and waste it. I think about how I used to brush my teeth. I would walk up to the faucet, turn it on, wet my toothbrush and leave it running when I brushed my teeth. I would turn on the shower then maybe get distracted when it warmed up, well now I have an insta-hot so I don’t have to do that. I’ve worked and lived all over the country and I’ve seen the same mentality everywhere, whether it’s running irrigation or using water to brush your teeth, we don’t seem to think about it. You know, we just open that faucet and water shows up and we don’t seem to think about how we continuously have it go down the drain and then it has been processed and has been wasted. The water available is certainly a problem. I’m not as familiar with that as I am when I believe it to be misused or taken it for granted. When I got here and I could have just simply gone on with what used to be but instead I ask questions and I looked at the water and I thought gosh, what an opportunity. You’ve something that’s really small, it’s not very easy to make a really big change to something that’s really small. So I try not to worry about the little things but big things, water consumption and farming. I think the biggest thing in America that we could do is become conscious that water is not a endless supply and we as individuals can have an enormous impact one at a time if we all or most of us even started thinking about what we are doing when we turn the tap on and let it run or lay the hose down while we’re washing the car. What is the solution? What I would tell anyone is that you as an individual can make the biggest difference. Don’t believe in can’t. Ask more questions. Just don’t believe that what is has to be. And the past isn’t the future so you can do things differently. Just because my grandfather did it one way doesn’t mean I have to. Every individual changing their way would have an enormous effect. And each person can make a big change. I hope that each individual that I talk to will get from me that they can make a difference and don’t believe in can’t. If i can do it, you can do it.

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