About Bamboo Sourcery
FounderWe dedicate our website in honor of Gerald Bol (1940 – 1996), founder and creator of Bamboo Sourcery and past president of the American Bamboo Society, whose generosity of spirit and love of life, art, and bamboo blessed many people around the world.
Jennifer York & Joe Ruffatto
Bamboo enhances and transforms gardens into peaceful sanctuaries of light, movement, sound and space, touching our spirits and stirring our souls. Bamboo can beguile and possess. You may shortly find yourself becoming ensnared with “Bamboo Magic.”
-Gerald Bol, Founder of Bamboo Sourcery
Around 1982, nearly 35 years ago, Dutch-American artist, teacher, and botanist Gerald Bol himself became “ensnared” in a love affair with bamboo. After being gifted a small bamboo plant on a visit to Japan, he began sourcing and cultivating hundreds of rare and wonderful species on his 7.5 acre property in Sebastopol, California. He traveled all over the world to collect the plants in their native habitats in the Andes and Himalayas, the lowlands of Asia, and South America, where diverse species flourish in the wild. Gerald became president of the American Bamboo Society, and his family business developed into a thriving resource for bamboo lovers and laymen alike, nationwide. The beautiful bamboo species Borinda boliana is lovingly named in honor of Gerald Bol.
Today, Bamboo Sourcery is lead by Gerald’s daughter, Jennifer York, and her husband, Joe Ruffatto, who, along with a small, dedicated staff, manage the thriving 7.5 acre bamboo farm.
Jennifer, whose bachelor’s degree is in Environmental Education, has made educating the public about bamboo a priority, and she is equally committed to the sustainable stewardship of the beautiful land she grew up on. Jen is a kind and hardworking soul who has dedicated herself to helping her unique family business flourish in a socially and environmentally conscientious manner.
Joe is a skilled contractor with over 30 years of experience, available to Bamboo Sourcery customers for a consultation, installation, bamboo recommendations, maintenance, and more. He is particularly good at coming up with creative and cost-effective solutions to challenging projects. A self-taught bamboo expert, Joe is a practical and tireless advocate in helping homeowners and landscapers get the right species in the right setup to make their bamboo projects a success.
Bamboo Sourcery received the Environmental Business Alliance’s Best Practices Award of 2010 in recognition of our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint, while enabling us to save money at the same time. Over the years we have initiated a number of water and energy conservation efforts, as well as waste reduction efforts, and it is wonderful to receive recognition for them.
Here is a partial list of our environmental efforts:
- In late 2006 we installed a large PV solar system that powers our sizable irrigation system and 3 households on the property. It saves us approx. $7,000 per year, and it paid for itself in 8 years! You can see our solar system up the hill and directly above the main greenhouses.
- We hand water our entire 7.5 acre farm. Hand watering, though labor intensive, is by far the most water-efficient irrigation system due to our variable and uniquely steep terrain.
- We reuse and recycle plastic nursery pots and rarely purchase them new. We buy used nursery pots from local landscapers and continue to reuse them as long as possible. This reduces the amount of petrochemicals used in our operation and takes a large number of pots out of the waste stream.
- We make it a priority to buy locally whenever we can, and to buy post-consumer recycled materials whenever possible. All of our root barriers are made of 100% post-consumer recycled polyethylene.
- Bamboo Sourcery uses no pesticides or herbicides. When necessary, we spray very dilute laundry detergent for aphids and mites, and we pull and mow weeds as needed.
In addition, bamboo itself has many environmental benefits. Bamboo is very effective at removing excess nitrogen, metals and other toxic substances from soils and water. Bamboo also produces 35% more oxygen and consumes 4 times more carbon dioxide than a forest of young trees. So planting bamboo, in addition to growing a beautiful plant for privacy screens and garden highlights, can actually help slow global warming!