Five times a week, the Santa Cruz Farmers Market holds a market somewhere in the county. The oldest and largest of these markets grew out of the rubble of the 1989 earthquake, in the parking lot downtown where Ford's department store once stood.
Last week, market manager Nesh Dhillon gave me the news that the market is celebrating by expanding into 20 new slots, featuring a variety of vendors that will enhance the market's cultural influence in our community. One new service:
A “veggie valet” program [will be] a free service for customers of the market. We have a spot in the market that has street/car access where anyone can check in their shopping bags, continue shopping or go retrieve their vehicle and pull up and get their food. This new service makes it easier to drive into downtown and shop at the farmers’ market. The service will be fully function April 28th.
In addition to the customary farms and hot food providers, the expansion will feature "live music, valet bike parking, arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations, information space for non-profit organizations, and expanded restroom facilities." The arts and crafts booths, a pilot project with The Tannery Project, will be sure to attract new visitors, as will the addition of new prepared foods vendors. I'm also very pleased to see that Sharp Quick, my knife-sharpening friend, Terry Beech, is being given a full-time spot.
Tomorrow's festivities will have live music (Harmony Grits!), a photo exhibit of the past 20 years (featured on the back wall of the market), cooking demonstrations by the inimitable Jozseph Schultz, and more. (Jozseph is re-opening India Joze, a Santa Cruz local legend, on May 1, much to the delight of his Jonezing fanbase.)
You can view and download the new farmers market map, above.
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On a more personal note, I've been involved with an incredible project at the UCSC Library that is coming to fruition on Earth Day (April 22). Irene Reti, the Director of Regional History Projects, has for years cultivated her dream of creating an oral history of sustainable agriculture in our Edenic little part of the world. There have been so many passionate pioneers who've had a major influence on agriculture, globally, that it was time to gather these stories. 58 interviews with "large- and small-scale farmers, farm advisors, activists, educators, researchers, policymakers, farmers-market managers, food distributors, and other shapers of the region’s past 40 years of agricultural history."
From the UCSC Library's announcement:
April 13, 2010
UCSC Library to launch new web site on Central-Coast sustainable agriculture and organic farming
While the project focuses on developments in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, many of the interviewees have influenced the movement for sustainable food systems at the national and international level.
Local organizations represented include the Agricultural and Land-Based Training Association, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, California Certified Organic Farmers, Organic Farming Research Foundation, California FarmLink, the Ecological Farming Association, the Homeless Garden Project, UCSC’s [Farm & Garden] Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the Life Lab Science Program, and the Wild Farm Alliance.
I was honored to have been asked to provide photographs of the faces of so many of these participants: so many are my friends and my heroes. The interviews fill 4800 pages of text, which ultimately will be printed in 10-edition bound set, available at local libraries.
The website is scheduled to go live on April 22 (Earth Day). Later this year and next: "The UCSC Library will feature an exhibit based on the project during Fall Quarter of 2010. A celebration will be held at the Science and Engineering Library on October 14. A reading will also take place at the Watsonville Public Library this fall. In 2011, a book of edited excerpts from the oral histories will be published by the UCSC Library and distributed by the University of California Press.
Contact information, should you need it, is linked at the Library's website, above. (Yes, you can order books.)
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Two more wonderful things about living in Santa Cruz. More to come on Slow Food and The Butcher, The Baker, The Wedding Cake Maker.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: ""Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed."—Herman Melville
Thanks for visiting.
P.S. The tent cabins at UCSC are a beautiful reality! This photo was taken by Don Burgett, former apprentice, and current treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden with me. More on Grow a Farmer soon, too!