Severo Lara, current City of Ojai Mayor and co-owner of JL & Sons Landscaping, is a lifelong resident and father of two. He shares the goals of most small business owners in Ojai - making a living in the small town he loves.
“My father bought this business in June of 1985,” said Severo remembering the early days. “He bought it because he wanted a business that would allow him to teach his sons how to work. And I come from a family of seven, five children. I am not sure if this classifies as a big family - my mother and father’s families were much bigger.”
Severo says his dad had previously worked in Ojai as a chef but didn’t think the restaurant’s owners would allow him to bring his sons to work, so he decided it was time to change professions.
“I have blurry memories about going to work with my father as a very young boy when he bought the gardening business,” said Severo, “helping pick up leaves, dragging the trash can behind me, etc. I want to say that I started to really help out when I was about 9 years old.”
Thirty years after his father bought the business Severo is proud to be carrying it on, but he has made some important changes to the company’s business model.
“In my business, landscape contractors/gardeners are often convinced and encouraged to use pesticides and herbicides because it is cheaper and easier.” said Severo. “I decided after graduating from college that this was not the route I wanted to pursue. I decided to look at gardening as a sustainable model.”
“My main goal in every account is to not use any type of pesticides or herbicide, or any man-made fertilizer,” said Severo. “I try to analyze the problem and apply material that is organic such as neem oil, tea spray, horticultural sprays, etc. It varies from account to account due to client’s wants or budget, but overall, my main goal is not to use pesticides, herbicides or man-made fertilizers. There are some properties that I maintain where I implement bio-dynamics or horticulture techniques.
Severo says he wants to make sure he maintains healthy plants by using organic methods and being proactive.”
“I do not want to say that it is harder, but it does involve more participation and thinking,” said Severo. Severo says he is also proud to be an OVGC business sponsor. “This is part of what the Green Coalition stands for - doing the right thing for sustainability and our Earth by working hard and thinking. Not taking the easy way out.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about JL & Sons Landscaping call Severo at 805-794-3111.
Thank you Severo and JL & Sons Landscaping for your support!