Pie potluck, barn dance mark Cowell Ranch Hay Barn dedication Saturday, Sept. 12

Barn to house teaching, office, event space, and headquarters for the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz

Cowell Ranch Hay Barn
Cowell Ranch Hay Barn pictured on Friday, Sept. 4 awaiting the pouring of concrete at the entrance and along the west side. (Photo by Guy Lasnier)

A pie potluck and barn dance will be featured at the dedication of the newly rebuilt Cowell Ranch Hay Barn that will soon become a multi-use teaching, office and event space, and headquarters for the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz.

The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 12 at the restored barn near the base of campus. It is free and the public is invited; drinks will be provided. A live band and dancing will follow dedication ceremonies. Parking is available at the Barn Theater at the campus entrance.

Dozens of community volunteers including members of the Santa Cruz Construction Guild who helped raise the barn’s framework in a one-day barn raising in March are invited as are members of the many building trades who have worked on the project.

The restoration of the 150-year-old barn has been a long time coming and has involved countless individuals who have taken an interest in its central role in the Cowell Lime Works Historic District. The project was made possible with a $5 million grant from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.

Period construction techniques – mortise and tenon joinery -- from the 1860s are used to tie together the superstructure made up of new timbers as well as others salvaged from the original that was carefully dismantled last year.

The new barn is also engineered and constructed with modern materials for safety and environmental concerns.

Phase one of the project is nearly complete. Future work includes finishing interior spaces for offices, a conference room, kitchen, and storage, along with landscaping,  including a path to the UC Santa Cruz farm where apprentices in the ecological horticulture program learn sustainable agriculture.