FSWG Gardens

Rachel Carson Garden

How to find it

The garden is located to the west of the Rachel Carson College (formerly College 8) Dining Hall (below the volleyball courts), near the bridge to Family Student Housing. 

History 

In 1995, a small group of students broke ground for the garden with assistance from Steve Gliessman, a professor of Environmental Studies and Agroecology. The next year, Gliessman began teaching a 1-unit course in the garden, focusing on the key concepts of organic agriculture, soil maintenance, food systems, and “learning by doing.” A group of students from the Student Environmental Center began maintaining the garden and teaching the course in 2009, and have kept it thriving since then. 

Niche 

With majestic views of Wilder Ranch State Park and the ocean beyond, the Rachel Carson College Garden is a treat for the senses. Rows of vegetables are grown amongst perennial flowers, herbs, and a variety of fruit trees, while student paintings adorn the fence and pathways. Thanks to the garden’s educational focus, there are always new crops and techniques being tried, and anyone is welcome to stop by and take a small sample of the food and flowers being grown.  

How to get involved [all in-person meetings postponed until further notice]

  • Enroll in the Rachel Carson College Garden Class centered around agroecological practice (CRSN 90), offered every quarter 
  • Intern opportunities offered Fall through Spring, 2 or 5 units available through the ENVS Office
  • Ask/apply to our student staff positions or become a core member. Email us! c8garden@ucsc.edu
  • Come in, take a look around and engage with the buzzing ecologies around you
  • Stay updated on workshops and other events the garden hosts by following our Instagram @rachelcarsongarden and joining our Facebook page @RachelCarsonGarden. 

Key Contacts 

  • Core members at c8garden@ucsc.edu
  • Staff Advisor Margaret Bishop mlbishop@ucsc.edu
  • academic advisor Katie Monsen kmonsen@ucsc.edu

Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA)

How to find it

Located near the CASFS/UCSC Farm in the Lower Quarry. Take Village Road off Hagar Drive down to the entrance of the Village.

History 

Starting in the 1860s, the Lower Quarry was mined for limestone by the Henry Cowell Lime Works Company. After the Cowell family donated the land to the UC Regents in 1961 to build the UCSC campus, the old quarry served for a period as the home of the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group for their successful Peregrine Falcon captive breeding program. In 1995, Environmental Studies professor Steve Gliessman took over the Bird Group’s facilities and moved his agroecology offices into the quarry.  It became a place for international visitors to study agroecology and the site for the first annual International Agroecology Shortcourse in 1999. 

PICA was founded in 2002 by Stephen R. Gliessman, Alfred E. Heller Professor (emeritus) of Agroecology in UC Santa Cruz's Environmental Studies Department. Steve also created a two unit PICA Seminar class that was offered through the Environmental Studies Department (ENVS 91F/191F), where students were introduced to concepts of community and agroecology in the context of sustainability. PICA has historically been a part of the Sustainable Living Center (SLC) with the Community Agroecology Network, which is the organization that provides fair trade coffee in many of UCSC's dining facilities. The Program In Community and Agroecology (PICA) has historically been funded by student grant writing to the Campus Sustainability Council, Measure 43, and the Carbon Fund. We are also funded through the generous support of our donors.

Niche 

The Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) is an educational program focused on experiential learning, sustainability, and food systems. All UCSC students are welcome to participate in the garden workdays and workshops offered. Students have the opportunity to grow their own food together, share meals together, and explore ways to live more sustainably. PICA's primary academic mission is to engage students with sustainability through practical experience and the sharing of community based knowledge. Emerging themes of discussion include, but are not limited to: power dynamics (racism, classism, sexism, etc.), lack of representation, knowledge validation, staff and student relationships (student autonomy), student accountability, and intentional inclusivity. PICA will offer a unique space to students of color in an effort to avoid, mitigate, and eliminate racism, classism, tokenization, white privilege, oppression, marginalization, identity policing, and space policing in historically white garden spaces and take steps towards accountability, truth telling and positive change. Through practical training in agroecology and organic gardening, student involvement in campus and community gardens, and the development of local composting projects, PICA students are able to integrate Agroecological principles of sustainability, food production, food justice, and social justice into everyday life. In doing so, PICA students will be better prepared to work for tangible change in the food system outside of an academic setting.

How to get involved

  • Apply to live at the Village and select PICA as your choice of themed housing options 
  • PICA offers Garden Workdays 2-3 days a week- rain or shine! Students can choose between a variety of hands- on activities to participate in. A free garden grown organic lunch is always served. Check out our calendar on the PICA website for workdays and events. Garden workdays are currently not being held due to COVID-19, the space will be running again once shelter in place is over.

Key Contacts 

  • PICA student email: pica@ucsc.edu
  • Programs coordinator, Karely Valdez, kvaldezl@ucsc.edu