CASFS/UCSC Farm, Alan Chadwick Garden, and the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn
On the UC Santa Cruz campus, the Center manages the UCSC Farm and the Alan Chadwick Garden, both internationally known sites for training and research in organic horticulture and agriculture. These facilities are organically certified in accordance with the California Organic Foods Act of 1990. Students, faculty, and researchers use both the Farm and Garden as research and teaching sites. Both facilities are also open to the public daily from 8 am to 6 pm. In 2015, CASFS also began managing the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn, which is currently being restored.
Since the Garden's establishment in 1967, apprentices, staff, and students have transformed it from marginal land into a productive model of small-scale agriculture and horticulture. They rely primarily on Garden founder Alan Chadwick's "French-intensive/biodynamic" method, based on close spacing of plants in raised beds, maximum soil aeration and drainage, and careful use of organic fertilizers. Today the 3-acre Chadwick Garden exhibits a diverse collection, including ornamentals, annual and perennial food crops, an extensive planting of fruit trees (including more than 120 apple varieties), and native California species.
Founded in 1971, the 30-acre Farm includes handworked gardens of annual and perennial food and ornamental crops, mechanically cultivated row crops, orchards, and research plots. The Center's offices, the agroecology laboratory, new greenhouses, and a visitors' center are among the facilities located at the Farm.
Also on the Farm are the offices of Life Lab, a non-profit organization that develops garden-based science and nutrition curricula and educational programming for students from pre-K through high school. Life Lab manages the Garden Classroom at the Farm, which serves as a model school garden and training site for students and teachers, and hosts field trips and programs for students year round.
Efforts are currently underway to reconstruct the historic Cowell Ranch Hay Barn, located near the UCSC campus entrance at the edge of the UCSC Farm, as an eventual home for CASFS and other sustainability projects located on the south campus. A generous gift to CASFS from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation is funding the initial reconstruction project. Read more about this effort.