CASFS – Week One

I’ve been in Santa Cruz for one week and one day now. I’ll be living at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systema through the rest of the year. Spring is in full swing, and Fremontodendron californicum are exploding with humming bees and color.

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While here at the center, I’ll be researching and studying how to advance sustainable food and agricultural systems that are environmentally sound, economically viable, socially responsible, nonexploitative, and that serve as a foundation for future generations. We will be discussing agroecology, urban agriculture, domestic and international food systems, sustainable agriculture, agricultural policy, landscape ecology, and food security. We’ll be tending the farm and gardens and learning about all aspects of running a farm and garden, from pest management, orchard care, to marketing and CSA management. 

 

This is the farm and garden that will be my home for the rest of the year.

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It’s an amazing privilege to live on the land you are working with. I’ve just started to settle in, and feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to share space, land, learning, process, healing, conversation, and laughter with so many incredible folks from around the world. It’s a new experience to live an a community of 50+. Everyone has so many talents to share, from bread baking skills honed to perfection, to herbalism and crafting skills.

I can feel a sense of grounding and peace that I have not experienced in a long time. It might come from being able to feel intimately connected – to place, to natural cycles, to one’s health and well-being. Or maybe it comes from having space to breathe and think. This is the connection that is being taken away from so many people around the world – the ability to live in deep connection with the land that sustains them.

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Currently, the fields are still filled with winter cover crops bell beans and fava beans, one of the optimal nitrogen fixing crops for the Santa Cruz area. These are being knocked down and incorporated into the soil to nourish the bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes that will support that crops that will be grown this year.

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