The UCSC Farm Apprentices who grow and harvest food found in dining halls, farmers markets, and community-supported agriculture (CSA) boxes are now being honored by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors who declared the month of June “Grow an Organic Farmer Month.”

Mark W. Stone, Fifth District Supervisor of the County of Santa Cruz, expressed appreciation for the Center of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and the UCSC Farm Apprentices “who have planted roots all over the United States” with their work in producing and advocating for sustainable agriculture.

A first-year apprentice bunkers down his hand-built tent after some high winds. Photo by Alex Zamora.

This proclamation coincides with the UCSC Farm’s “Grow a Farmer” campaign to raise $250,000 by June to fund construction of tent-cabins to house 32 apprentices on-site as they learn about organic agriculture and horticulture. This year’s class of 38 apprentices will be the last to live in individual tents on campus due to building regulations enforced by the university.

The campaign, which started this past December, asked for the support of businesses, restaurants, foundations and individuals to donate money or pledge a percentage of their profits to help keep the apprentices on the UCSC Farm. Restaurants all over Santa Cruz and the Bay Area, including Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Mission Pie in San Francisco, threw benefit dinners to help support the next generation of organic farmers.

The last of these events will be sponsored by local restaurant, Gabriella Café, which will hold a benefit dinner on Sunday, June 7 at Pie Ranch, a farm in Pescadero started by graduates of the apprenticeship program. Tickets to the outdoor dinner sell for $75 per ticket, 100 percent of which will go toward the Grow a Farmer campaign.

Read more: Community-Supported Farmers [City on a Hill Press]


Grow a Farmer benefit dinner [Brown Paper Tickets]

Grow a Farmer campaign website [Center of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems]