Carolyn Tognetti has been a true champion of southern Santa Clara County’s environment for decades. A native of Gilroy, Carolyn became involved in city land use issues with a local group called Citizens for Balanced Growth in the late 1980s and has remained a core member as it transformed into Save Open Space Gilroy in 2001 and then into Gilroy Growing Smarter in 2016. Carolyn served on Gilroy’s 2020 General Plan Update Committee where she suffered a bitter defeat in trying to protect 660 acres of prime farmland on Gilroy’s east side from being designated for industrial development. More than a decade later, she would find redemption as a member of the 2040 General Plan Advisory Committee when City Council supported the Committee’s recommendation to reverse that decision. In November 2016, Carolyn had cause for further celebration in protecting Gilroy’s farmland when voters passed an urban growth boundary measure initiated by Gilroy Growing Smarter.
Carolyn’s efforts to protect our local natural landscapes extend beyond Gilroy as is evidenced by her six years of participation on the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan Stakeholder Committee and her nine years as a Director on the Board of the Land Trust of Santa Clara Valley.
Carolyn’s dedication to protecting local farmland continues to manifests itself today in her children’s work in the family farming business that is now running the Uesugi Pumpkin Farm in Morgan Hill and Spina Farms in Coyote Valley, San Jose. Carolyn is proud to say both farms sell only pumpkins grown in southern Santa Clara County.
Throughout the decades, Committee for Green Foothills has been proud to work with Carolyn and other activists in the Gilroy community to defeat attempts to sprawl out onto some of the most fertile farmland in our valley.