CASFS Blog & Forum



Saturday, September 25, 2010

(Sun 9.26.2010)

Summer, or what Santa Cruz saw of it this year, is in the past. The bounties of fall await.

In celebration of the changing seasons and the local harvest, UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) invites the community to its annual Harvest Festival on Sunday at the UCSC Farm. From live music and cooking demonstrations to face-painting and apple tasting, the festival has something for everyone, said Martha Brown, senior editor and outreach coordinator for CASFS.

"It's almost like a mini county fair with the emphasis on education and organic farming," Brown said.

The festival is considered to be an open house for the organic and sustainable farming programs at the farm, allowing students and the community to learn just what the center offers.

"We want people to know about us and know it's a community resource," Brown said.

The 25-acre farm and 2-acre Alan Chadwick Garden at UCSC reach far beyond the university's borders. Friends of the Farm and Garden hosts classes open to the public with topics that have included pruning, spring gardening, and raising chickens and ducks. The Life Lab Science Program also has headquarters at the farm. The nonprofit develops curriculum for garden""based learning for kindergarten through eighth grade, and takes about 2,500 students on field trips throughout the year, some of them being workshops on the farm.

In the spirit of the center, the goal of the Harvest Festival is to educate students and the larger community about sustainable living and show that growing or buying organic produce is within just about anyone's reach. The event will include workshops with topics such composting with worms, and tours through the farm and the herb garden will allow community members and students to see a variety of organic produce, including green beans, lettuce, apples, peppers and Asian pears. Brown said the festival is a lively event where people can learn about the local environment while enjoying the beauty of the farm itself. "It's just a fun place to explore, take a walk, listen to some music," Brown said.

With fall comes apples, and in addition to apple tasting, there will be an apple pie contest and a talk about the history of apples by Orin Martin, manager of the Alan Chadwick Garden.

"If anyone's interested in apples, they won't want to miss that talk," Brown said.

Tim Galarneau is the Food Systems Working Group coordinator and works in student outreach for the center. He's helping to organize the festival, which introduces students to the farm, he said.

"The intention is to raise awareness first for the campus community," he said. "Some students don't know about the farm."

Before joining the UCSC staff in 2005, Galarneau was a student there, where he entered CASFS with no knowledge of farming. He learned about sustainable living, and the positive impact it can have on communities. He also learned that food is more than something we eat; it's connected to the health of people and the environment, and supporting local farmers makes for a healthier community all around.

Among his accomplishments: helping create a UC-wide set of guidelines that help shift purchasing power within campus lunch rooms, requiring them to rely on more sustainable food sources.

For Galarneau, the festival is an opportunity for the center to share resources and empower people with education.

"The center is really a leading institution to look at social justice and alternative food systems," he said.
Charles Lambert, a senior at UCSC and co-coordinator for the Food Systems Working Group, will give a cooking demonstration at Sunday's festival. As a member of the group, his role is to educate students about their carbon footprints and how those footprints are connected to their health and environment.

"A big part of what we do is sharing the education that we received," he said. "It's something I really care about."

Events like the Harvest Festival help people connect with local farmers and learn where their food comes from as well as how to use that fresh produce to make healthy, creative dishes.

"It's kind of connecting people with their roots," he said. "It's moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle."

posted by CASFS 2006 @ 2:42 PM


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