Oct.12 Harvest Festival celebrates 35 years of UCSC leadership in organic farming and gardening

The annual Harvest Festival at the UC Santa Cruz Farm draws hundreds of families who gather to enjoy music, good food, and the changing of the seasons. This year's event on Saturday, October 12, will be especially festive as the Farm celebrates 35 years of leadership in organic farming and gardening.

Highlights of this year's festival include a bigger-than-ever apple tasting, performances by three bands, an apple pie bake-off, workshops, tours, and all the fun activities kids have come to expect, including face painting, hayrides, pumpkin decorating, and fresh-squeezed apple juice tasting (see full schedule of events below). Delectable edibles will keep you going all afternoon. The Harvest Festival takes place at the UCSC Farm from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $5; UCSC students (with ID) are $3. Admission is free for children ages 12 and under and members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden.

The Farm is located 1/4 mile up the gravel road above the Blacksmith Shop; free public parking is available in designated areas. For more information, call (831) 459-3240. For directions, call (831) 459-4140 or see www.ucsc.edu/casfs. The festival is cosponsored by the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden and the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems. Funds raised at the Harvest Festival support the scholarship and public education work of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden. Major business sponsors of the Harvest Festival are Stonyfield Yogurt, Odwalla, Christiansen Associates Gardens & Design, New Leaf Community Markets, and Straus Communications.

More than 1,000 people have participated in the Farm's pioneering apprenticeship in organic horticulture, and many have gone on to become leaders in the field--literally and figuratively--of sustainable agriculture. Profiles of several graduates follow:

  • On the southside of Birmingham, Alabama, Page Allison and Edwin Marty, who completed the apprenticeship in 2000, have transformed a one-acre vacant lot adjacent to office buildings and the Southtown public housing community into Jones Valley Urban Farm, where children and adults grow organic produce and flowers while learning about food and farming. Residents of the local YMCA are involved in work and job training at the farm, and goods are sold at the local farmer's market, as well as to restaurants and specialty stores. Allison and Marty see their "urban greening" endeavor as a way to inspire pride in the city and a greater appreciation of natural resources.

  • As certification manager for California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), Brian McElroy has overseen the rapid growth of one of the leading certification organizations in the United States. CCOF now works with 1,100 producers, and 145,000 acres are in the certification program, up from 50,000 acres when McElroy joined in 1994. McElroy, who completed the apprenticeship in 1994, is active in the international organic community, having served four years on the standards committee of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), which has developed the worldwide definition of organic for everything from field production techniques to the processing of packaged goods that are distributed around the world.

  • As head gardener at the new American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts that opened in Napa in 2001, recent apprenticeship graduate Richard Slye oversees a 3.5-acre garden in the heart of California's famed wine country. Based on formal French estate gardens, the grounds include 18 theme gardens featuring herbs, lavenders, and olives, as well as a kitchen garden, seed-saving garden, red wine garden, shade exhibition gardens, and fruit orchards. Slye organizes events for visitors, including hands-on gardening classes, and raises produce for the center's restaurants and cooking classes, as well as for Napa's food bank and a local women's shelter. Contact: (707) 259-1600.

  • Cathrine Sneed, who graduated in 1987, began the nationally recognized Garden Project for San Francisco County Jail inmates, and she launched the post-release program in 1992 to serve former offenders. The Garden Project today provides on-the-job training in gardening and tree care and boasts a recidivism rate of 24 percent, compared to the average return-to-prison rate of 66 percent.

    Sneed believes nature is where offenders can discover lives worth living and that working with the land breaks the cycle of crime.

  • Godfrey Kasozi refers to himself as "a small boy from Africa," but he's accomplished big things since finishing the apprenticeship in 1999. Kasozi returned to his native Uganda to share what he'd learned with small-scale farmers and others who are training farmers throughout Uganda in sustainable growing practices. As program director for the Center for Environmental Technology and Rural Development (CETRUD), Kasozi operates a six-acre teaching garden and orchard site that produces organic food for local markets, hotels, and families and supplies seedlings to the community. The center is also active in lobbying and educational efforts, hosting visits from government officers and nongovernmental organizations.

Graduates of the apprenticeship are working around the world on large- and small-scale projects that promote sustainable agriculture. To reach any of the individuals profiled above, or to hear more about graduates, please call the UCSC Public Information Office at (831) 459-4399 or e-mail Jennifer McNulty at jmcnulty@cats.ucsc.edu.

A complete schedule of Harvest Festival events follows, as well as the official rules for the first-ever apple pie bake-off.


Saturday, October 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.



11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. J's Homemade Jam

12:45 - 2:15 p.m. Mariposa

2:30 - 4 p.m. Kuzanga

Workshops and Activities

Apple Tasting -- Varieties grown at the UCSC Farm & Garden 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Apples for the Home Garden with Orin Martin, Chadwick Garden Manager Noon - 1 p.m.

Apple Pie Contest Taste-Off (winners announced at 2 p.m.) 1 - 2 p.m.

Cooking Fresh from the Garden with Jozseph Schultz 1:15 - 3 p.m.

Wreath Making Demonstration with the Women's Organic Flower Enterprise 2 - 3 p.m.

Herb Walk with Jeanine Pollak, Herbalist with Botanic Adventures 3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Farm Tour/Life Lab Garden Classroom Tour 12:30 & 3 p.m.



Apple Pie Bake-Off entries must be received at the UCSC Farm between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 12. Judging will begin at 1:30 p.m., and the winners will be announced at 2 p.m.

The first 10 entries will receive a gift certificate for one peck (approximately 16 pounds) of baking apples from the Farm & Garden. First, second, and third-place winners will receive additional prizes. The first-place recipe will be announced in the Friends of the Farm & Garden newsletter.

  1. The Friends of the Farm & Garden Apple Pie Bake-Off is a nonprofessional baking competition open to Harvest Festival attendees (entry to the Harvest Festival is $5. Friends of the Farm & Garden members and children 12 and under are free).

  2. Contestants are responsible for supplying all ingredients and cooking the pie prior to bringing it to the Bake-Off.

  3. All entries in this contest must be homemade. Purchased pies will be disqualified.

  4. Contestants are responsible for submitting a written recipe (preferably typed) with their pie.

  5. A representative of the Friends of the Farm & Garden will assign each contestant a number. Contestants should verify that the number on the bottom of their container is the same number assigned by the representative.

  6. Entries will be judged 75 percent on taste and 25 percent on presentation, creativity, and composition.

  7. The decision of the judges shall be final.