CASFS welcomes back UCSC students for in-person programming

September 17, 2021

The Center's facilities and programs, including the UCSC Farm, pictured here, are available to all UC Santa Cruz undergraduate and graduate students.

After a year and a half without interns, volunteers, and apprentices onsite, the UCSC Farm and Chadwick Garden are open and ready to host UC Santa Cruz students for in-person educational programming. Thanks to our stellar student staff and a volunteer crew of alumni and Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden members who pulled weeds, resurrected neglected perennial plants, and cleared garden paths, we are set to welcome back undergraduates in agroecology classes and internships this fall.

Student Leadership Development Program

Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) staff are excited to build upon a new Student Leadership Development Program this year, which will see seasoned student staff taking on leadership roles such as training and mentoring junior staff and interns, and participating in developing and improving CASFS programming. Students will learn from each other as well as from professional staff in and across CASFS sites, including the UCSC Farm, Chadwick Garden, Cowell Coffee Shop, and the Produce Pop-Up. The goal of the new program is for students to feel empowered in their roles and knowledgeable in food systems topics from planting, growing, and harvesting, to food production and distribution, food security, and more. 

CASFS Internship

CASFS staff hosted a remote internship last year to get students involved with their campus food system from afar, but we are looking forward to hosting in-person interns from all academic majors at the Farm, Garden, and other campus sites to provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities. The CASFS Internship will focus on land-based agricultural and horticultural production, post-harvest handling, food distribution, and nutritional and culinary preparation and services. Interns will be based at one of CASFS's diverse sites, with the option to intern at different sites from quarter to quarter. 

Agroecology Major

The agroecology major, an interdisciplinary program housed in the UCSC Environmental Studies Department that has so far been entirely remote due to the pandemic, will see its first in-person cohort this year. Students in the new major will have the opportunity to gain credit through working onsite at the CASFS Farm, gardens, and kitchens with instruction from CASFS staff and fellow students. 

There has been a lot of interest in the program, with many UCSC applicants indicating their intent to declare the major. For this fall quarter, 150 students are enrolled in Introduction to Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the core class for the major. CASFS will host 30 agroecology students each weekday, alongside interns and with guidance from student and professional staff.

We look forward to the year ahead and resuming our onsite educational programming. To learn more about CASFS undergraduate opportunities, visit