Gary Ibsen Gary Ibsen Gary Ibsen Gary Ibsen
Dagma Lacey Dagma Lacey Dagma Lacey Dagma Lacey

An ad­vo­cate of sus­tain­able agricul­ture, Gary Ibsen has given talks about grow­ing toma­toes for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, re­gion­al gar­den clubs and has made sev­er­al pre­sen­ta­tions on the na­tion­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed tele­vi­sion show, P. Allen Smith's Gar­dens. Gary was also Founder, Pub­lish­er and Ed­i­to­ri­al Di­rec­tor of the award-win­ning Ad­ven­tures In Din­ing mag­a­zine and prior to that, Mon­terey Life mag­a­zine. by the In­ter­na­tion­al As­so­ci­a­tion of Culi­nary Pro­fes­sion­als for best cook­book in the sin­gle sub­ject cat­e­go­ry. In the 80s, Gary served on the Found­ing Board of The Amer­i­can In­sti­tute of Wine & Food.

Gary is a re­spect­ed lead­er in the toma­to in­dus­try due to his knowl­edge through grow­ing and har­vest­ing or­gan­ic heir­loom toma­to va­ri­eties for more than 40 years. In the mid 90s, Gary, through his Toma­toFest Farm, sup­plied heir­loom toma­toes to restau­rants and mar­kets in Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia. Gary Ibsen was the Founder and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Carmel Toma­to­Fest event that took place in Carmel, Cal­i­for­nia (1997-2008). This event at­tract­ed toma­to lovers from around the world. Na­tion­al pub­lic­i­ty of this an­nu­al event sup­port­ed the resur­gence in pop­u­lar­i­ty of or­gan­ic heir­loom toma­toes.

Dagma Lacey is also a re­spect­ed ad­vo­cate of or­gan­ic gar­den­ing and is co­founder and CEO and CFO of Tomato­Fest. She brings with her a strong sense of com­mu­ni­ty, em­pha­siz­ing that only to­geth­er can we re­gain ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a fruit that has been in­te­gral to so many cui­sines. This pas­sion was passed down from her ma­ter­nal an­ces­tors, Bo­hemi­an farm­ers who in­stilled in her a rev­er­ence for peo­ple who worked the land for sus­te­nance and health.

By the time Dagma had met Gary, he had al­ready found­ed the an­nu­al Toma­toFest and had just pub­lished The Great Toma­to Book. While hold­ing down two jobs in Spokane, Wash­ing­ton, the sin­gle moth­er of five chil­dren courted Ibsen long-dis­tance for six years. When her chil­dren left home as adults, Dagma re­lo­cat­ed to Cal­i­for­nia, where her rep­u­ta­tion as a farmer of heir­loom toma­toes was on the rise. The two mar­ried in 2006.

Dagma has since been in­ter­viewed for TV, ra­dio, and print about her knowl­edge of sus­tain­able farm­ing. Her com­mu­ni­ty-mind­ed ap­proach has led to her host­ing grade-school gar­den­ing demon­stra­tions and toma­to tast­ings for Whole Foods Mar­kets. She sup­ports the well-be­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion of 650 va­ri­eties of cer­ti­fied or­gan­ic toma­toes through her hands-on ef­forts, which in­clude ev­ery­thing from the an­nu­al plant­ing and har­vest­ing of toma­to seeds, to fruit pho­tog­ra­phy and or­gan­ic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Gary and Dagma are cur­rent­ly ac­tive in sup­port­ing nu­mer­ous ur­ban, school and com­mu­ni­ty gar­den pro­grams world-wide through Toma­toFest Seed Do­na­tions Pro­gram, in their ef­fort to sup­port bio-di­ver­si­ty, en­sure that heir­loom toma­to va­ri­eties will be pre­served, and to feed those in need.

Gary and Dagma are Co-Founders of the World Toma­to So­ci­ety a glob­al com­mu­ni­ty com­mit­ted to cul­ti­vat­ing, dis­cov­er­ing, shar­ing, ed­u­cat­ing and pre­serv­ing all things toma­to.

To­geth­er they en­joy their eight chil­dren and nine grand­chil­dren.