UCSC Library to launch new web site on Central-Coast sustainable agriculture and organic farming

Jeff Larkey of Route One Farms (photo: Carlie Arnold)

Beginning on April 22, a wealth of colorful, informative stories told by dozens of pioneers in the development of organic farming and sustainable food systems in California's Central Coast region will be available on the UCSC Library's website.

Several years in the making, this documentary project includes interviews with 58 large- and small-scale farmers, farm advisors, activists, educators, researchers, policymakers, farmers-market managers, food distributors, and other shapers of the region's past 40 years of agricultural history.

While the project focuses on developments in 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.

Local organizations represented include the Agricultural and Land-Based Training Association, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, California Certified Organic Farmers, Organic Farming Research Foundation, California FarmLink, the Ecological Farming Association, the Homeless Garden Project, UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the Life Lab Science Program, and the Wild Farm Alliance.

The project was conceived and overseen by Irene Reti, director of the UC Santa Cruz Library's Regional History Project, with interviewing and editorial assistance from Sarah Rabkin and Ellen Farmer.

"An astonishingly multifaceted, interdependent community of change-makers inspired this oral history endeavor, which is the first substantial documentation of the historical trajectory of this transformative movement," said Reti.

Interview transcripts, audio clips, photographs, and other resources will be available online. In addition, the set of 10 bound, printed volumes of interview transcripts and narrator photographs will be available through several local libraries, including the UCSC Library and the Watsonville Public Library. Individuals and institutions interested in purchasing copies of some or all of the volumes may email ihreti@ucsc.edu.

The UCSC Library will feature an exhibit based on the project during Fall Quarter of 2010. A celebration will be held at the Science and Engineering Library on October 14. A reading will also take place at the Watsonville Public Library this fall. In 2011, a book of edited excerpts from the oral histories will be published by the UCSC Library and distributed by the University of California Press.

For more information, contact Irene Reti at 831-459-2847 ihreti@ucsc.edu.