Author Archive | Ellen Farmer

JSM Organics hosts Spring on the Farm

April 30, 2019 – The iconic family farm, once common in the United States, used to be a unique form of livelihood, a blend of business and lifestyle. Many families earned a fair living specializing in something like dairy, selling milk through a cooperative, making sure everyone shared the small but adequate income.

Then they purchased what little they needed from the general store, sustaining their families mostly with what they grew on their own diversified farms – hogs, chickens, eggs, a wide variety of vegetables and tree fruit, with goats or cows for milk. They might have a big corn field for animal food and delectable sweet corn in the heat of summer. Sometimes the farm wife enjoyed growing peonies and petunias for the thrill of watching them bloom. … Read More

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HUNGER ON CAMPUS

Tim Galarneau of UC Santa Cruz

How universities and colleges around the Monterey Bay are working to address the basic needs of students

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID ROYAL

When UC Santa Cruz food systems analyst Tim Galarneau found out that up to 6,000 students on campus were skipping meals because they couldn’t afford food, he set out to do something about it and his pioneering work is having a ripple effect throughout the Monterey Bay area and the nation.

Galarneau—himself a UCSC alum—was alerted to the problem by a study called “Got Food?” which surveyed University of California students on how often they skipped meals because they couldn’t afford the consistent purchase of food on a daily basis due to other costs of attending college. The average was 44% of students … Read More

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ON THE FARM: GENIUS AND JUSTICE

Organic agriculture and activism
intersect at UCSC’s farm apprentice program

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CRYSTAL BIRNS

For 20-some years, while sitting in her office and working as a bilingual counselor at Santa Cruz High School, Ana Rasmussen longed to take six months off and study organic farming just up the hill at UC Santa Cruz. But the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture has always been a residential program and she was raising her kids, so as soon as they grew up, she wasted no time in applying and becoming an apprentice.

Friends had told her, “It will change your life,” and she agrees the program inspired her in many ways. “It was a combination of excellent teaching—what we learned to do with our hands—but most of all getting to know the other apprentices … Read More

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ON THE FARM: REVOLUTIONARY RANCHER

A former engineer takes on climate change with regenerative agriculture

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICIA ARCIDIACONO AND ELAINE PATARINI

Sallie Calhoun couldn’t have been more surprised when her husband got the wild idea of buying the huge and historic Paicines Ranch south of Hollister 17 years ago.

The land had been slated for a resort hotel, golf course and 4,500- unit housing development, but San Benito County wanted the developers to provide a four-lane highway to serve all the new commuters, and that just wasn’t going to happen. So Calhoun and her husband Matt Christiano purchased the land and settled in, curious about their future.

Calhoun’s father left his family’s farm in the rural South to become an engineer in the 1950s. As much as she loved summer visits to the farm, … Read More

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