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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Pinedora Farms

An off-grid paradise.

Tucked between the pine trees of Northern Arizona’s White Mountains, a close-knit community and self-described “off-grid self-sustainable wellness facility” is doing their part to make the planet a better place. Welcome to Pinedora Farms: a forest wonderland for generations of conscious children and a microcosm for the Kaiser family’s vision of a self-sustainable world.

Lisa Kaiser is the President of Pinedora Farms. She had been involved with natural and holistic healing with her daughter Jennifer for years, but they both knew they were ready to take their passion to the next level. They envisioned a space of their very own in which they could facilitate a hand-on learning experience on holistic nutrition for children and adults.

“We wanted to shift, get land, have a self sustainable place where we could teach kids and people about holistic nutrition,” Kaiser says about the physical location that she and her daughter once only dreamed of. “We wanted it to become self-sustainable. We willingly gave up living a normal life in a normal house with all of the normal conveniences that one would have.”

In 2016, that dream became a reality. Kaiser and her family purchased raw land in the White Mountains and had to build absolutely everything from scratch. In alignment with her objective to be truly “off the grid,” Kaiser emphasized how necessary it was for the community to start off strong with their very own well.

“We didn’t want to tap into anything else,” she says. “I bought a 29 foot RV with a couple of slide-outs. My son and his family got an old bus that he wanted to restore.” Over the years, as Kaiser’s family has grown, the RVs and buses have multiplied, creating a communal caravan environment on the property. “Within the month after we moved up here, I bought our first greenhouse, which took us 6 months to build… 30 by 72 feet. The day after Christmas in 2016, we added finishing touches to the greenhouse… It was the best Christmas present ever!”

Currently, Pinedora Farms is “completely off-grid” with a half acre of outdoor growing space, two 72 foot greenhouses with plans to construct two more that will be complete by July 2022. Kaiser and her extended family, including her children and grandchildren, enjoy life at Pinedora alongside numerous chickens, ducks and dogs.

“We did not want to connect with the electric company, even though their lines go right across our property,” Kaiser says of her mission to keep the farm off-grid. “Due to the fire in Xolo, our water was shut off… It was run by electric pumps.” She describes that moment as “the pivotal change… I don’t want someone telling me when I can have access to water or electricity.” This instance proved the importance of self-reliance and self-sufficiency for her, validating her goal for Pinedora to be a self-sustained facility.

“There were so many things that we went through, which we’re very grateful and thankful for,” Kaiser says, recalling the early days of Pinedora. “We were outside a lot. It’s been us working together and doing what we could. Us girls… there was nothing off limits, like ‘Girls can’t do that, you can’t lift that.’ But we did. We climbed onto roofs, repaired things and got bruises everywhere… We’ve never given up, no matter how hard it was.”

Kaiser looks forward to finally having more permanent buildings on the land in the future. She’s planning an eventual wellness retreat in an expansive, communal space that can accommodate kitchen demos, meditations and other experiences for guests. “We want people to be able to come out for an experience… to rejuvenate, detox, learn a healthy lifestyle. It’s a whole mindset. It’s a whole lifestyle change, and it goes way beyond food,” she says.

The name “Pinedora” is inspired by the fictional world of Pandora from the movie “Avatar” – a lush, green paradise in harmony and symbiosis with nature. Jennifer Kaiser suggested the name to her mom after encouraging her to watch the movie. “I said to her, ‘I wanna live on Pandora!’’ Kaiser recalls. “My daughter said, ‘Since we’re in the middle of the pine trees, why don’t we call it Pinedora?’”

“At first, I thought [‘Avatar’] was just a movie about blue people,” Kaiser laughs. “But really, it’s about everything we believe in – energies, frequencies, healing… the power of the earth.” She went on to explain how nature communicates with itself. “Trees can recognize their offspring… The mother tree knows what saplings come from them – their roots go towards them and reach out to them. There’s communication going on… There’s so much about being in nature and in the woods that is so grounding and healing – we’re very fortunate for that.” Today, Lisa Kaiser runs Pinedora Farms with Jennifer and Kaiser’s daughter in law, Kate Adams.

As an educational center, Pinedora Farms functions as a hands-on hub for children and adults alike. Their E.L.F. (Educating Little Farmers) program educates children on how to grow and prepare their own food, giving them life skills as well as nutritional benefits from their time at Pinedora. “When kids are more involved in growing vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them,” Kaiser says. “We’re teaching them nutrition and how yummy healthy snacks taste… Our next [E.L.F. program] will be in the spring – we want the kids to come back to teach other kids [after they] become certified E.L.F.s.”

Kaiser gave an example of an anti-bullying message that she explains to the children in the E.L.F. program through natural processes. The kids learn that plants can respond positively and negatively to sound and vibration, just like people do. “If you were to talk mean to the plants, tell them they’re ugly – those plants are going to wither and die. They hear that and respond to the vibration.”

Greenhouse Gatherings is an “adult version” of the E.L.F. program, offering all ages an opportunity to learn about holistic health and how to implement it in their lives. “People can grow their own food and have their own garden, but too many people don’t know how to cook or prepare anymore. They’re used to a microwave or a drive thru.”

Besides their educational aspect, Pinedora Farms enjoys giving back to the community through their work with school groups and veterans programs, including a group that trains service dogs for disabled veterans. “That’s another part of giving back,” says putting people together so they can help each other.”

The ambition that runs through Pinedora Farms doesn’t stop there: the community also plans to put out podcasts soon. “[They] will include everything from Finding the Right Property to Homestead on, to growing food, off-grid living, conservation, herbal medicines, mind-body-spirit…. and everything in between,” Kaiser says. The farm also hosts an annual music festival – the most recent one had about 100 attendees, an impressive number that speaks to the outreach of this small community.

“People are starting to go, ‘Oh, I’ve heard of you,’ or ‘Oh, I’ve read about you.’ The past five years we’ve been breaking bones, bleeding, etc. And we’re finally having people notice what we’re doing and say ‘Hey, I believe in you,’” Kaiser says. “We are stubborn and determined because we know it’s the right thing to do.”

For more information, visit https://www.pinedorafarms.com.

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