UC Santa Cruz honored during Ecological Farming Conference Jan. 24-27

SANTA CRUZ, CA--The contributions of UC Santa Cruz to sustainable agriculture will be in the spotlight during this year's Ecological Farming Conference, with a focus on the 40th anniversary of the campus's pathbreaking Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture.

The apprenticeship will be the focus of a feature presentation at the Successful Farmers' plenary session and at other events throughout the three-day conference, which takes place January 24-27 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove.

As educators, farmers, and researchers, affiliates of UC Santa Cruz will be prominent participants throughout the conference, known as Eco-Farm http://www.eco-farm.org/efc_07/index.html. (See below for a listing of events featuring UCSC affiliates.)

The apprenticeship is the nation's premier hands-on training program in organic farming and gardening. Widely regarded as one of the most significant influences in the growth of sustainable agriculture, the six-month full-time program has prepared more than 1,200 graduates who have spread their expertise throughout the world.

Graduates operate commercial farms and market gardens, run community and school gardens, and work at the forefront of international development, food policy, and social justice programs. In addition, the apprenticeship provides training in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and prepares farmers to participate in this popular new mode of community collaboration (see Wednesday, January 24, and Thursday, January 25). In education, the apprenticeship has served as a model for similar college-based farm training programs at the University of Georgia, Michigan State University, the University of Montana, and other campuses.

In addition to the apprenticeship, UCSC's Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and the UCSC-based Life Lab Science Program are home to cutting-edge research and educational endeavors. CASFS scholars have raised awareness of the social justice aspects of food production, while Life Lab has developed an award-winning garden-based K-6 science curriculum that has been adopted by 1,400 schools nationwide (see Thursday, January 25).

UCSC remains at the forefront of sustainable agriculture, pioneering the farm-to-school movement by piloting delivery of fresh, locally grown, organic produce to campus dining halls, spearheading UC's systemwide sustainable food initiatives, and advancing scholarship about the feasibility of farm-to-school programs (see Saturday, January 27, listing below, and a press release available at http://press.ucsc.edu/text.asp?pid=979).

Leaders of UCSC's sustainable agriculture efforts will be available at the events listed below. In addition, they can be reached through the UCSC Public Information Office. Please contact Jennifer McNulty at (831) 459-4399 or jmcnulty@ucsc.edu for assistance.

Wednesday, January 24

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

. Former apprentice Nancy Vail, who coordinates the CASFS Farm-to-College and CSA programs, will lead the preconference session, "CSA Nuts & Bolts: A Continuing Conversation."

Thursday, January 25

8:30-10 a.m.

. Apprenticeship graduates Tom Broz, owner/operator of Live Earth Farm in Watsonville, and Gloria Decater of Live Power Farm in Covelo, present during a workshop entitled "Adding Value through Community Involvement in CSAs."

4-5:30 p.m.

. John Fisher of the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems and the UCSC-based Life Lab Science Program presents during a workshop, "Beyond Agri-tainment: On-Farm Education Programs for Youth."

5:30-6:30 p.m.

. The UCSC Farm & Garden host a "Back 40" mixer to kick off the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture.

7:30-9 p.m.

. Katie Monsen, doctoral candidate in environmental studies and the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems at UCSC, hosts a mixer for "Post-Secondary Sustainable Agriculture Education" to announce the establishment of a Sustainable Agriculture Education Association and other news.

Friday, January 26

8:30-10 a.m.

. The "Successful Farmers" plenary session honors the UCSC Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program. UCSC staff members will present a brief history and profile the work of 10 graduates. Staff participants include coordinator Diane Nichols; Farm Garden manager Christof Bernau; Chadwick Garden manager Orin Martin; field production manager Julie Stultz; Farm manager Jim Leap; and Farm to College/CSA coordinator Nancy Vail.

2-3:30 p.m.

. Jim Nelson of Camp Joy Farm in Boulder Creek, one of the original UCSC apprentices who worked with founding gardener Alan Chadwick, participates in a workshop entitled "Quality Farm Internships: Teaching the Skills of Small Farming."

. Appenticeship graduate Amy Courtney of Freewheelin' Farm in Santa Cruz participates in a workshop on "Women in Sustainable Agriculture."

4-5:30 p.m.

. John Fisher of the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems and the UCSC-based Life Lab Science Program hosts a mixer for K-12 educators.

Saturday, January 27

8:30-10 a.m.

. Tim Galarneau, coordinator of the UC Santa Cruz Food Systems Working Group and UC Sustainable Foods Project, presents during a workshop on "Colleges Convert to the Wisdom of Local, Organic Food."

. Former apprentice Ken Foster of Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping in Santa Cruz participates in a workshop on "Fossil-Free Landscaping."

. Former apprentices Nancy Vail and Jered Lawson of Pie Ranch in San Mateo County participate in a workshop on "Passionate Pumpkins, Squash Sisters, and Glorious Gourds."