UCSC Farm Apprenticeship
I'm a 24-year-old UC Santa Cruz alumna who has been working in the UCSC Sustainability Office as an office manager and events coordinator since graduating in 2014. I was recently accepted to the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, which is a 6-month certificate program from April to October 2016. Starting the second week of April, I'll be leaving my job and moving onto the farm at UCSC, where I'll gain hands-on experience with organic gardening and small-scale farming. Read more about the program here and find out why I'm doing the apprenticeship below.
My purpose in creating this crowdfunding page is to request from friends and family that instead of getting me a gift for Christmas or my birthday this year (or next year), please consider donating to help cover the cost for materials, food, and other miscellaneous expenses associated with doing this program. For the six months that I'm in the program, I won't have any source of income, so any donations you provide will go toward the expenses outlined below and allow me to complete the program with a little bit of savings left in the bank.
What your donation would support
Food dues for communal meals: $600
Required books: ~ $135
Tools: ~ $175
Bus fare to visit my partner Brenden on weekends: ~$240
Miscellaneous expenses (clothing needs, used mattress for my tent cabin, etc.): $50
I am incredibly grateful to my parents for their financial and emotional support in doing this program. I'm also grateful for the support of my partner Brenden.
Why Ecological Horticulture?
My goal in doing this program is to be able to bring my love of gardening, food, education, and community engagement together in a way that authentically connects people to the food on their plate and creates change in our food system. I hope to eventually create opportunities for people of all ages to discover the joy of growing plants and connecting with the seasons. In addition to the food access and environmental sustainability benefits of learning to grow one’s own food, being connected with a plot of land, the climate, and the seasons through gardening can provide a deeper connection to what’s happening in our local communities from environmental degradation and global climate change, which can lead people to want to take action to create a more sustainable future. For more information about why I'm doing this program, you can read a selection of application on my blog here.
Photos from my container garden at our old house in San Jose from 2015-16.
Thank you so much to everyone who is able to donate and help me as I prepare for this program. It really means a lot to me to have people in my life who support me in doing the work that I not only want to do but feel called to do. Many of you have been around to watch my budding interest in sustainability blossom into many aspects of how I live my life. Every day, my decision to participate in this apprenticeship program feels more and more like the right next step in my journey. I feel incredibly grateful to everyone who helped me make the decision to apply, even when I thought I might be a bit crazy for wanting to live in a tent cabin for six months on a farm. I'm excited and hopeful for this new adventure, and I couldn't do it without the support of my family and community.
Little Melissa gardening in the backyard of my childhood home.