This post should have been made a few days ago, but I've been involved in The Wedding of the Century, as photographer, best friend, mother of a bridesmaid. All on a weekend where Bob had to be out of town and childcare was kind of spotty.
I'm publishing this letter as it went out to the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden. The upshot is that the "Seconds" (second-year apprentices who live, work, teach, mentor, and cook on the farm) abruptly lost their housing on the farm, in a great old barn, and they need help.
Since this program is one of the strongest in the country, and this class in particular has been pronounced "one of the best ever to go through, in forty years" (not to belittle earlier classes! Sometimes things just gel), I really would love people to find a way to help, however small. Read on for an explanation and ways to participate.
What I've seen: the Seconds are a handful of young people who've been chosen for their tireless energy, their ability to collaborate with and support each other, and because they are somehow carry the golden gene or whatever it is to fit into a system where nothing is ever done, and yet can persevere each day with strength and gratitude. I'll try to get up there soon and show you some of their faces. You might want to adopt them, except they're too old. To be adopted. But not to run a complex farm with more facets than a disco ball.
Letter from Diane Nichols, Apprenticeship Program Coordinator:
Dear Friends –
We need your timely help to meet the immediate housing needs of our current second-year apprentices who are suddenly homeless!
We are writing to you as part of a small group of people who are close to and are strong supporters of the Apprenticeship Program. You know the supreme importance of the second-year apprentices as they serve as teachers, grow the crops, and act as “residential assistants” and leaders of our apprenticeship community. As you might imagine, this group, as others before them, are an amazing group of individuals. We could not operate our outstanding program without them. They do all this for a small stipend, a great training opportunity and free rustic housing in the barn.
Quite unfortunately, last week we learned that the barn could no longer be used for housing and alternative housing had to be found within days. As you probably know, we are already working to find preferred long-term housing for both first and second-year apprentices. However, while we are in that process, we need to find a short-term solution for our current second-year apprentices. This is where we are hopeful that you can help in any way that works for you!
We need to find suitable housing for them through November 21st. Ideally, we are looking for a house for them near the campus – one within a 20-minute bike ride, with separate sleeping spaces for three to six people. Of course, we will consider other options that you are able to offer.
It is almost certain that any short-term solution that we come up with will involve some expense, probably in the range of $10,000 to $20,000. So, we will need large and small donations. We appreciate your considering if you can help in this way.
If you can make a donation, please make your check payable to the UC Regents, and mail it to the Development Department at UCSC, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064. Please designate that your donation is for second-year housing. If you would, please let me know by phone or e-mail that you sent in a donation so that I can keep track of the donations, send you a thank-you, and keep you apprised of the seconds’ housing situation.
If you have other ways that you can help, please contact me at 831-459-2321. The second-year apprentices are taken care of for the next few days thanks to the generosity of staff and other friends. Loans or donations of domes, yurts, or large tents could prove to be good alternatives.
With the long-term planning now under way at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, we regret needing to appeal for your help in this way. However, we have this pressing need right now and would be extremely grateful if you can help.
Thank you so much!
Apprenticeship Program Coordinator
Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064
831-459-2321, fax 831-459-2799
I hope some of you can help.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order." —John Burroughs
Now: how can you give?
Thanks for visiting.