Where others saw a falling-down barn, alumnus Alec Webster (Rachel Carson ’02, environmental studies), saw possibilities. Today, the rebuilt Cowell Ranch Hay Barn is a landmark that symbolizes the university‘s powerful connection to the land and a future built on its unique history. The restored Civil War–era barn is now a magnificent event space and vibrant home for UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden programs, environmental programs, and community activities. It was 50 years ago that master gardener Alan Chadwick started the Student Garden Project at the just-opened UC Santa Cruz, helping launch the organic food movement and ultimately shaping the campus mission of sustainability. An endowment established by an anonymous donor for the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture gives these storied programs greater financial stability, helping to ensure that educating farmers in organic and sustainable food production will continue to spread locally and globally. With donor support, we even wrote the book on it: an updated 700- page how-to on teaching organic farming and gardening used worldwide.
Key support provided by the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, Joanna Miller, Roberta Gordon (Rachel Carson ’81, environmental studies, chemistry), S.H. Cowell Foundation, Gaia Fund, Joseph and Vera Long Foundation, and an anonymous donor.