UCSC Farm & Garden: How to Enjoy the Farm Year Round

In late July 2017, 500 visitors descended upon the 30 acres of lush, hilly grasslands nestled near the base of the UC Santa Cruz campus.

They weren’t students, although you couldn’t tell by the class-filled days and late night parties that ensued over those three days.

They were former staff, students, and apprentices of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), known more affectionately by the Santa Cruz community as the UCSC Farm & Garden, arriving to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the farm’s founding by master gardener Alan Chadwick.

What began in 1967 as a scraggly lot of devoted students assisting Chadwick to build a garden on one of the rockiest hillsides on campus eventually blossomed into a fully functioning organic farm which not only produces over 700 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers but also has become a premier training program for aspiring organic farmers from around the world.

Even if you didn’t get to join in that weekend of workshops, tours, and photo exhibitions, there are plenty of ways for you to take part in the magical wonderland that is the UCSC Farm & Garden. [Read more…]

Santa Cruz Backpacking Tours: Roughing It With an Expert Guide by Your Side

Santa Cruz Backpacking Tours 2017

Photo by @genghis_johnn

Are you ready for the quintessential Santa Cruz Mountains experience?

Better yet, want an expert tour guide by your side?

Naturalist-led Santa Cruz backpacking tours are being offered again this year by California State Parks, from April through September. These 1-3 night trips offer the classic Santa Cruz backpacking experience, with the added bonus of being led by a knowledgeable State Park professional.

There are six backpacking trips to choose from, some of which take you through lesser known portions of our state parks.

Last year’s tours sold out, and we expect this year’s to sell out quickly as well. The video below gives a great overview of the tours:

[Read more…]

Berry Creek Falls: Big Basin’s Bucket List Hike

Berry Creek Falls

When a magical waterfall in the mountains is only a couple hours hike from the beach, we like to call that a Santa Cruz Life moment.

But how about three waterfalls, all within a mile of each other?

That’s what we call a bucket list item and we want to help you cross it off your list.

Here are some tips to reach Berry Creek Falls and more at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, starting from the ocean.

Your adventure begins with a drive up Highway 1, north of Santa Cruz. [Read more…]