TARA KOLLA – Founder and Grower
Tara Kolla is an organic grower, entrepreneur, and the founder of Silver Lake Farms. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Europe, Tara brings together sustainable, bio-organic practices with an old world family-farm ethos right in her backyard. Her micro farmsites cover less than an acre, tucked into the sun-drenched hills of Los Angeles just a few miles from the bustle of Downtown LA.
In 2009, Tara became a champion of the Los Angeles urban agriculture scene by spearheading the grassroots movement behind the Food and Flowers Freedom Act. This community-driven ordinance effectively legalized urban farming in Los Angeles, allowing the cultivation of vegetables, cut flowers and fruit in residential zones for off-site sales. Los Angeles Magazine named Tara "Best Urban Farming Guru" that same year.
An instructor as well as an activist, Tara teaches gardening clinics and is a frequent guest speaker at events and conferences. She was an invited speaker at the opening of The Huntington Ranch at The Huntington Library in 2010, and she presented a TED talk on the topic of urban farming at “TEDx: Food and Food Systems in the 21st Century” in Los Angeles.
Tara is a member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG), and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). She is a graduate of Pierce School of Agriculture, Rudolf Steiner College, and studied Soil Food Web biology under Dr. Elaine Ingham. Tara serves as a member on the Board of Directors for L.A. Compost, a non-profit organization that promotes healthy, conscious communities.
JULIAH THRIFT – Gardens
Juliah Thrift manages the Horticulture and Gardening division at Silver Lake Farms. She holds certificates in Horticulture and Interior Design from UCLA. Marrying both art and science skills required by the best of gardeners, her background in the humanities lends her a sense of narrative expression and spatial organization that comes through in her garden designs.
Beyond her work tending the farm's growing grounds and client gardens, Juliah heads up crop propagation, starting our flower and vegetable crops from seed and getting them off to a great organic start. She is also involved in all aspects of the garden design and maintenance work we do for client gardens. From design to installation to maintenance, her goal is to provide clients, not just with a garden, but with an experience.
Juliah was born and raised in Canada. Though fiercely proud of her native northern homeland, Juliah has found fertile soil here in Los Angeles and a career in urban agriculture. She is passionate about advancing horticultural education in the city and building public awareness surrounding the importance of local and organic sourcing.