by LINDA FRABL | photos by Soul of Photography

Sowing the Seeds

Our current sedentary society is definitely dependent on fast-food convenience and high-tech solitary entertainment. It used to be that families regularly grew their own crops to harvest, and could rely on having helpful extended family members nearby. In that bygone era, kids roamed happily in the wild outdoors while still respecting their environment’s cultivatable possibilities. The Brenner family, who resides in the Fox Point section of Leucadia, happens to exemplify these long-lost forgotten customs, including living off the land.

Patriarch Gregg works for Tayman Industries, promoting waste reduction and food waste recycling. Matriarch Jeannine runs a nature-based home daycare/preschool called The Seed School. She admitted, “We’ve used Gregg’s experiences with his company in our home and in our daycare by incorporating a closed loop system in which we grow our own food, compost what can’t be used, and return the compost to the soil. We are bringing that knowledge to our community at the youngest level possible – our babies!”

“We live in an awesome older neighborhood with big trees, wide streets, and lots of kids to play with.” – Gregg

The philosophy of outdoor environmental instruction factors heavily into The Seed School. Jeannine explained, “The approach to environmental education for such young learners is about free discovery on each child’s own terms. Kids have extended opportunities to discover what they truly enjoy doing since our program is almost entirely outdoors.”

family02

The two Brenner children, Aaron, 6, and Murphy, 4, also benefit from their community’s outdoorsy offerings. Gregg proclaimed, “We live in an awesome older neighborhood with big trees, wide streets, and lots of kids to play with. It borders the canyon with a rope swing, and there are lots of undeveloped areas to explore.” The family’s own wonderful backyard features a robust vegetable garden and a menagerie of farm animals including two chickens, a pig, and a puppy. Jeannine added, “We are always working on our backyard, creating a space that is magical for children!”
The children certainly keep active, especially Aaron, who has “played every Pee Wee sport possible at the Ecke YMCA!” Gregg laughed. Aaron also plays baseball, golf, and football, and camps regularly through the YMCA Adventure Guides.

Amazingly, the Brenner home is literally next to Jeannine’s parents’ home – in the same neighborhood Jeannine was raised in! Gregg enthused, “There are lots of long-term residents here whom Jeannine grew up with. It’s a big extended family of people we’ve known for a lifetime and it’s pretty sweet to have actual family next door (‘Hello babysitters!’).”


Parents: Gregg Allen and Jeannine Jamison Brenner
Children: Aaron River (6, Capri Elementary, Kindergarten),
Murphy Marcus (almost 4, home and Sandy Hill, Preschool)
Community: Fox Point since 2011
Parents’ Hometowns: Gregg – San Diego, Jeannie – Leucadia
Parents’ Occupations: Gregg – General Manager, Tayman Industries, Jeannine – Owner/Operator, The Seed School
Pets: Obi – Bernese Mountain Dog, Kai and Blue Jay – chickens, Ziggy – pig
Favorite Places to Visit in 92024: Beaches, the San Diego Botanic Garden, campgrounds in Cardiff, Lotus, HapiFish, Sunshine Gardens, Whole Foods, Organic Hammer, Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, and The Farm at The Leichtag Foundation