What a $4 million endowment for CASFS means to UC Santa Cruz

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Sheldon Kamieniecki, Dean, Division of Social Sciences

I am extremely pleased to announce a $4 million endowment provided by an anonymous donor for the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in the Division of Social Sciences.

Specifically, these funds will be used to establish the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture Endowment, which is administered by CASFS. Payouts will be used to ensure the long-term viability of the apprenticeship program and other related training programs at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and the Alan Chadwick Garden. Among other things, funds will be applied to tuition scholarships for apprentices.

CASFS is a research, education, and public service program dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system. The center operates the three-acre Alan Chadwick Garden and the 30-acre UC Santa Cruz Farm, which serve as research, teaching, and training facilities. It contributes knowledge to create agricultural and food systems that sustain both human communities and the environment. Cutting-edge research, the internationally renowned apprenticeship program, and effective public outreach place the center and UC Santa Cruz at the forefront of sustainable agriculture.

Founded in 1967 and run in conjunction with UC Santa Cruz Extension, the apprenticeship is a full-time program over six months that provides training in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale farming. Many apprentices go on to train others across the country and around the world in hands-on projects. Graduates have also established their own commercial farms and market gardens, run community gardens for inner city and prison populations, and developed school gardening programs. Others have raised the standards of the organic food industry through work with certification programs and retailers.

This incredibly generous $4 million endowment underscores the importance of CASFS and the apprenticeship to the UC Santa Cruz campus in several ways. First, it enhances the campus’s already strong national and international reputation as a global leader in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems, environmental responsibility, and social justice. Second, it shines a bright spotlight on the world-class social science and scientific research and education that is taking place on the UC Santa Cruz Farm. Finally, it enhances the student experience and coastal sustainability, two major priorities in the campus’s current comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Many thanks to Professor Daniel Press in Environmental Studies, executive director of CASFS, and Jeff Shilling, associate vice chancellor for strategic philanthropy. Future apprentices will benefit greatly as a result of their hard work.