Patricia Damery and her husband, the late architect Donald Harms, fell in love with the land he had found on the western rim of the Napa Valley, a rugged property that they kept primarily wild. They planted grapes and lavender in two small areas, using organic and biodynamic farming methods. Donald designed their home based on his love of Greek proportions, and Patricia created her writing studio so that her pygmy goats could visit her as she worked. This book, in part, is the story of their deepening relationship with one another and to the land. As owners of this beautiful property, they felt a responsibility to preserve rather than disrupt the delicate balance and interconnectedness of the natural world in which they were living.
Patricia gazed on an ancient oak savanna from her kitchen and vegetable garden, teeming with wildlife, nesting birds, and threatened amphibians. When she learned it had been sold to new owners who planned to create a commercial vineyard, winery, and event center, Patricia joined a grass-roots activist movement of Napa County citizens (Napa Vision 2050), little realizing she had entered into an epic war—one that will determine the survival of the very qualities that have attracted developers of vineyards, luxury resorts, and exclusive restaurants.
Over the past 30 years, Patricia has witnessed catastrophic change caused by overdevelopment and compounded by climate disruption. Egregious land-use policies have allowed ongoing deforestation, decreased water quality and supply, and eliminated wildlife—while creating traffic congestion and smog, increasing the cost of housing, and drastically lowering the quality of life for residents. Fruits of Eden gives voice to citizens who are increasingly unheard by governing officials.