UCSC Undergraduates

Damian Parr instructs students in the Agroecology Practicum class during a plant biomass sampling session at the UCSC Farm.

Thanks to the Center's work and the presence of the UCSC Farm and Alan Chadwick Garden on campus, UC Santa Cruz has one of the longest-running programs in agroecology and sustainable food systems in the country. Most UCSC undergraduates interested in this field choose to major in Environmental Studies and pursue the Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture area of emphasis (what the Environmental Studies Department refers to as an "informal focus," one of five such foci offered within the major). Students can also develop their own focus area.

A number of Environmental Studies courses use the Center's UCSC Farm for field and laboratory work. For example, the Agroecology Practicum, based at the Farm and Alan Chadwick Garden, is a hands-on course offered several times a year (including during Summer Session), which emphasizes both academic and experiential education. Lab sessions for the Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture course also take place at the UCSC Farm. For details on current and upcomingEnvironmental Studies courses, see the undergraduate courses website.

In 2013, Environmental Studies faculty member Stacy Philpott was awarded a Higher Education Challenge Grant from the US Department of Agriculture. This three-year grant, along with funding from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, is supporting the development of new courses and internships in agroecology and sustainable agriculture for UCSC undergraduates. For more information on the grant, see the UCSC press release.

Research, Internship, and Independent Study Opportunities

UCSC undergraduates can take part in ongoing Center research projects, or design their own research projects for course credit or as the basis for a senior thesis project. Undergraduates also play a key role in our public education efforts by training to become tour leaders in Life Lab's Garden Classroom, located at the UCSC Farm. Other students choose to develop farming and gardening skills through internships at the Farm and Chadwick Garden or on local farms and gardening projects such as the Homeless Garden Project.

Credit for internships is available through the Environmental Studies Internship Program and through independent studies arranged with faculty members. For information on current research and internship opportunities, contact the Environmental Studies Internship Office or see the Campus Food and Garden Guide, which lists contacts for food systems-related internship and volunteer opportunities at a variety of campus and community locations, including the various college gardens. For more information on Field Trip Guide Internships offered through Life Lab, see the Life Lab website. For details on internships at the UCSC Farm and Alan Chadwick garden, including the new "Farm Crew" internship, email Damian Parr, the Center's Education Coordinator.

Each year, a number of UCSC students take part in the Center's Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture course, offered through UCSC Extension. It may be possible to arrange UCSC independent study credit for the six-month, full-time apprenticeship with individual faculty members. For more information, contact the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at 831.459-3240, casfs@ucsc.edu.

Other Undergraduate Opportunities 

UCSC's Farm-to-College and Food System Working Group efforts offer many opportunities to help create a more sustainable college and community food system. Kresge, Stevenson, College 8, and Oakes also have active college gardens that welcome interns and volunteers. To read more about these opportunities, see the 2013–2014 Campus Food and Garden Guide, and check out the Farm-to-College information on this web site.

The Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) offers undergraduates the opportunity to integrate cultural and ecological knowledge to achieve sustainability with their own relevant perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. PICA students participate in practical training in agroecology and organic gardening, campus and community gardens, and in food programs both locally and internationally. For more information, see the PICA website.

Other departments at UCSC offering undergraduate courses related to the Center's work include Anthropology, Biology, Community Studies, Economics, Latin American and Latino Studies, Politics, and Sociology. For information on the Environmental Studies major, see their web site or call 831.459-2634. For information on other departments see the UCSC undergraduate admissions web site or call 831.459-4008.

See Also