Tenets of growth and sustainability underlie the serendipitous path that has led Marco Lam to Elkstone Farm. Whether teaching next-generation permaculture leaders, studying acupuncture, or transforming sprawling tropical lands into regenerative food forests, the ecological and sustainable concepts of permaculture long have embodied his core beliefs.
These roots took hold during a 1993 Permaculture Design certification course at Heartwood Mountain Sanctuary in Northern California, where he studied under permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison. There he soothed his youthful enviro-activist angst by embracing the vision of an ethical, productive, and regenerative community.
“Bill’s permaculture teachings put me on a really different path. Providing people with self-sufficient ways to grow food, more sustainable systems that take care of communities, systems that work with nature rather than against nature, just made sense to me right away. I discovered a system of ethics that’s been a guiding principle for me ever since. And I’ve found that the longer I do this kind of work, the more it becomes part of who I am.”
Having grown up near Boston, Marco escaped to sunny UC-Santa Barbara where he studied Political Science, Economics and Religious Studies, completed a thesis on holistic treatment of immune disorders, and set a record for most credits (33) taken in a single semester. Afterward, he climbed mountains in South America, taught adaptive skiing in Telluride, studied acupuncture with a 64th-generation master at a Taoist monastery near Honolulu, taught permaculture in Maui, participated in rituals with Hawaiian elders, and helped Maui landowners transform their properties into sustainable, regenerative farms.
He moved Boulder, Colorado to study Chinese medicine in a more formal setting, work as a farm manager, teach permaculture and open an integrative medicine clinic. After 20 years in Boulder, Marco says coming to Elkstone Farm with his wife, Jamie, feels like “the hand of fate.” He’s eager to focus on creating nutrient-rich foods organically grown in healthy soils while also evaluating various ways to expand the farm’s role in the overall health of the Yampa Valley community.
“ Healthy food is primary medicine for keeping people healthy and in balance. Herbal medicine offers a great opportunity to give people a stronger nudge once they are out of balance, enabling people to really reclaim not just their physical health but their mental and spiritual health as well.”
Among Marco’s diverse interests are martial arts (Chen-style Tai Chi, Xing Yi and Bagua), Chinese tea ceremony and culture, backcountry skiing, rafting, mountain biking, and beekeeping. Marco and Jamie’s daughter, Cassidy, follows family footsteps by running a company that infuses Chinese medicinals into chocolate truffles.