Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Home is where the crazy is...

Hard to believe how far behind we've gotten on keeping up while on the road.
Mostly, I blame the fact that we took a small "break" in San Franciso. This break meant seeing friends and forgetting obligations!

Part of this "break" included my band, Nurses, playing a benefit show for the movie on February 2nd. A few other groups performed, including the Conspiracy of Beards, an all male a capella choir I used to sing in. Fun times, and we made some money for the project.

Jesse has been slowly cranking out our next video, on Frank Fitzpatrick, Orange county rancher superstar. He was sidetracked a bit due to a brief visit to his hometown of Nevada City, where he was stranded without electricity for a couple of days in his dad's snowed-in house. Now that we're back to "civilization" and the road, where time is abundant, we should be back on track.

Since we last blogged, we met with the following folks:

1) Steve Gliessman, of the UCSC Agroecology program. One of the best interviews we've had so far, Steve broke down the Santa Cruz integrated educational model, wherein students simultaneously learn via classroom instruction as well as real world experience on farms, make the sustainable food connection at their on-campus cafeterias, and often taking on roles as activists in all sorts of food-related causes. It is one of the most impressive efforts for college sustainability/food education I have ever heard of, and we are bound to go back to get more footage of the many amazing programs they run.

2) One of which is the aforementioned Cafeteria Sustainability Initiative. After years of student pressure to get more labor- and enviornment-friendly food in their cafeterias, the outside contractor was replaced with a UC-based group called Dining Services. Dining Services has been far more responsive to student demands/needs, and has worked, through the Food Systems Working Group, to procure more local and sustainable products for student meals. We met with Candy and Scott Berlin, two Dining Service employees, who explained the history and current efforts to move campus food service towards sustainability.

3) We also met, before Eco-Farm, with Dina Izzo and Rebecca Thistlewaith of ALBA, based out of Salinas. ALBA trains new organic farmers, with a focus on serving Latino and immigrant farmworkers. Farmers completing their program are eligible to rent land from them for reduced rates, though the rates are eventually raised so that the farmers can learn the true economics of running their own small organic farm. Through "ALBA organics", their distribution center, they serve the Santa Cruz area with local food from a number of local organic farms, including some from the ALBA farms themselves.

4) Jim Nelson, long time farmer and teacher at Camp Joy in Boulder Creek, gave us a tour of his beautiful 4 acre farm. It was a foggy scene of pure homestead; wooden cabins nestled among towering pines and redwoods, goats, chickens, apple trees, and the magic potion: apprentices. Jim was one of Alan Chadwick's original apprentices at UCSC. Camp Joy is his (and his cohorts') attempt to pass on the learning and legacy of the Chadwick organic tradition. Judging from its beauty and apparent functionality in the middle of winter, I'd say they're doing a good job.

5) We narrowly missed Jason McKenney at Hidden Villa Farm and education center. We must be going back at some point, after seeing how extensive of a program they seem to be running there. And it's really not that far from San Francisco, anyway.

6) Back in Bay Area, we met with Aliza Wasserman of Community Alliance with Family Farms, Bu Nygrens of Veritable Vegetable, and Ron Strochlic of the California Institute for Rural Studies.

Now we're back on the road, heading north to meet the rain and people who brave it!

1 comment:

louiskatz said...

I saw a mention of someone named "One Song". He was a trucker who used to deliver to Veritable Vegetable and came to your site. I live in a place very much in need of alternative food outlets. It is dismal. I miss the Bay Area, Rainbow foods, VV, Other Avenues and the old Beatons Plastering truck.