The UCSC Library’s Regional History Project recently completed oral histories with 58 pioneers in the development of organic farming and sustainable food systems in California.

Titled Cultivating a Movement: A History of Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming on California’s Central Coast, the archive is now available on the UCSC Library’s web site.

An exhibit featuring images and excerpts from the new oral history archive will run at both McHenry Library and the Science and Engineering Library on the UCSC campus through December 10.

U.S. Representative Sam Farr will be the guest speaker at a reception for the exhibit to be held on Thursday, October 14, from 4 to 6 pm at the UCSC Science and Engineering Library’s Current Periodicals Room. Admission is free.

Congressman Farr has been a champion of organic farming since his service in the Peace Corps in Colombia in 1964.

While in the California State Assembly, Farr authored the 1990 California Organic Standards Act, the first state law defining organic agriculture. This legislation became the basis for the National Organic Program’s federal organic standards.

Farr now serves as co-chair of the National Organic Caucus in the House of Representatives and is vice chair of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

In Congress, he has insisted that USDA research stations include a focus on organic agriculture. More recently, Farr has worked to promote the use of salad bars in school cafeterias.

“It’s been exciting to see the evolution of the organics industry, to join with the pioneers of this movement to shape local, state and federal policy for organic growers,” said Farr.

“As the nation becomes more and more conscious of what we’re eating, and especially what our children are eating, I think organics will continue to play a very important role,” he added.

Several years in the making, the documentary archive project at the UCSC Library includes interviews with farm advisers, activists, educators, researchers, policymakers, food distributors, and other shapers of the region’s past 40 years of agricultural history.

While the project focuses on developments in California’s Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, many of the interviewees have influenced the movement for sustainable food systems at the national and international level.

For more information, contact Irene Reti, director of the UCSC Library’s Regional History Project, at 831-459-2847 or e-mail ihreti@ucsc.edu


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The reception will be held on Thursday, October 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UCSC Science and Engineering Library’s Current Periodicals Room. Admission is free. Parking is available at the Core West Parking Structure, where permits can be purchased.