Friends of the Farm and Garden

"At the UC Santa Cruz Farm & Garden, students, apprentices, staff, professors, and townsfolk have learned to give more than they take from the soil. They are stewards of our most basic resource."

–Louise Cain, Founding Member

By joining the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden, you too can become a steward of the soil. Through community education, the Friends help spread the word about the need for gardening and farming systems that are both environmentally and socially sound. The Friends also sponsor community-oriented events and celebrations to welcome in the changing seasons, and to raise funds for the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. ApprenticesFriends table learn the basics of organic farming and gardening during this six-month course.

The Friends support and promote the work of UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (the Center). Through experiential education, participatory research, agricultural extension and public service, the Center works to develop an equitable food system that empowers local communities, builds relationships, and nourishes all people and the environment.

How to Join

Join the Friends of the Farm & Garden now! Click here to access the secure online giving site. For more membership information, including a member form to download for mailing, see the How to Join page.

Your Membership Makes a Difference

Financial support and volunteer energy from Friends' members help make possible —

  • A year-round slate of workshops, lectures, celebrations, and plant sales
  • Scholarships for students in the Center's Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture
  • Outreach efforts, including the Center's docent and volunteer programs and participation in community events
  • Farm & Garden improvements, including new structures, equipment, and visitor facilities

As a Friend, you can help plan events and classes, take part in fundraising projects, or volunteer for workdays and other events.

In return for their membership, Friends receive -

  • 10% discounts on Friends' merchandise (T-shirts, tote bags, cookbooks, etc.)
  • Early entry to the Spring Plant Sale and 10% off plant purchases 
  • Subscription to the quarterly Friends' publication, the News & Notes of the UCSC Farm & Garden
  • Free admission to the Fall Harvest Festival and discounts on Friends' workshops and classes
  • Advance notice of our popular plant sales, workshops, classes, and other events
  • Discounts at selected nurseries

You'll also have access to a wealth of local gardening information, and you'll meet other people interested in improving the ways we grow food and ornamentals while taking care of the land.

Friends' History

In 1967, English master gardener Alan Chadwick began to transform four acres of a brush-covered hillside on the UCSC campus into a student garden. There, he introduced the concept of French biointensive gardening. Chadwick taught that we should "garden with nature," using raised bed cultivation and organic inputs such as compost to create rich growing conditions without synthetic chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Students and community members joined Chadwick in the effort to create a thriving vegetable, fruit, and flower garden. In 1972, 17 acres at the base of the campus's Great Meadow were set aside for a student farm, where Chadwick's techniques were carried out on a larger scale.

Inspired by Chadwick's work and his philosophy of caring for the land, individuals from the town and campus communities founded the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden to provide financial support and a public forum for the work and ideas generated at the UCSC Farm and Garden. The current popularity of organic gardening and farming can be traced in part to techniques that Chadwick introduced at UC Santa Cruz.

For More Information

If you'd like more information on the Friends of the Farm & Garden or the events sponsored by the Friends, call 831.459-3240 or email

See Also