Vince Garrod, 1918-2012
Vince Garrod—South Bay farmer, conservationist and 23-year member of POST’s Board of Directors—passed away on December 30, 2012. He lived and died on the family homestead on Mount Eden Road in the hills above Saratoga. Family history on the land dates back 120 years. From the beginning, this remarkable family worked the land together and shared it with their community. Vince meant a lot to me. I can still remember my first visit to Vince and Jane’s home. They radiated energy, good sprits, and embracing confidence and love for each other.
Vince was at all times the peer of venture capitalists, attorneys and other high-powered Silicon Valley professionals. He understood land-use policy in ways few others did. He believed the best way to acquire open space for public enjoyment was to buy it or secure conservation easements over it.
Vince learned about land from the ground up. He had a hand in all the work needed to keep the farm viable—from cutting and hauling firewood, to growing apricots and prunes, to building an equestrian center with a junior vaulting program, to adding a winery. He understood the inevitability of change and found joy in the challenges. In addition to managing the farm in Saratoga and a hay and cattle ranch in Lassen County, Vince worked as an independent agricultural consultant. He served on the Sarartoga Union School District Board, the Board of Governors of Farmers Insurance Exchange and with the California Canners and Growers. He served on fire commissions, soil conservation districts, water districts and the Saratoga Parks and Recreation District. He joked that his hobby was meetings, yet he also found time to play bass with the Skillet Likkers.
Over the years, the Garrod family’s commitment to open space and farming set an example for other landowners. In 1980, the Garrods made a bargain sale of 120 acres to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District as an addition to Fremont Older Open Space Preserve, protecting beautiful ridgelines forever for public use. Later the family made a bargain sale to POST of 40 acres of forest land, which became an addition to the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve.
Vince and Jane had six children, two foster children and an open door that welcomed lots of extras. Vince lived to see ten members of the fourth-generation Cooper-Garrod extended family choose to stay connected to the farm. His son Jan has followed in his footsteps as a current POST Board member. Vince’s life is a testament to the strengths that come from living close to the land, to family and to community. His great wisdom and capacity for joy will be greatly missed. His legacy continues.
--Walter T. Moore