Meet Golden Eagle Farm

For Native American Heritage Month, Bon Appétit is partnering with Golden Eagle Farm, owned and operated by the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians. Golden Eagle is an ambitious endeavor balancing traditional practices such as Indigenous farming methods and new revenue generators such as agri-tourism. They are restoring their tribal food sovereignty by developing a self-sustaining business model focused on restoring their relationship to the Earth through land and water conservation and deepening community ties. 

The Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians purchased 560 acres in Ramona, CA in 2017 as a business venture, an opportunity to return to their roots, and a chance to ensure food sovereignty. A 5-acre parcel of this large tract of land was set aside for Golden Eagle Gardens, which is operated by the Mesa Grande Business Development Corporation (BDC). They currently focus on growing vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, and strawberries and hope to expand to eventually produce more Indigenous medicinal herbs and foods propagated from the seeds already on their property. 

The BDC hopes Golden Eagle Farm will play a part in the growing movement of tribes focusing on restoring Indigenous food systems. Because of this, sustainability is more than a good business practice for them. They have a deep cultural connection between their own health and the health of the land and aim to be true stewards through practices like avoiding tilling, using organic pesticides and herbicides, reducing water waste through updated irrigation methods, and preserving Indigenous seeds. To deepen their knowledge of these practices, they have teamed up with organic farming consultants, attended Indigenous food-focused conferences like Seeds of Native Health in 2019, and developed relationships with other local tribes. 

Although the BDC currently operates due to small grants, they aim to expand their production, develop their workforce with the skills needed to run an organic farm with Indigenous practices, and, ultimately, become self-sufficient. In addition to farming, they want to serve as a locus for agri-tourism and astro-tourism, providing education to others on Indigenous farming methods and offering views of wide-open skies to traveling stargazers and eclipse chasers. They also aim to draw out connections between sustainable practices and their community focused principles by working with groups like Feeding San Diego to limit waste on their farm and Inter-tribal Agriculture Council to advocate for sustainable, actionable measures with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Learn more about Golden Eagle Farm and the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians in our interview with Essence Oyos, the Secretary of the Mesa Grande BDC. 

Enjoy this recipe developed by Golden Eagle Farm.