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UC Santa Cruz gets $4 million for agricultural apprenticeship program

Published On: Jun 30 2014 07:05:56 PM CDT

Courtesy of UCSC

Apprentices work at the UC Santa Cruz farm, run by the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

A $4 million gift to UC Santa Cruz will establish an endowment to support the university's Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture.

The apprenticeship, founded in 1967, is the nation's first hands-on training program for beginning organic farmers at a public university. It's one of the core programs of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UCSC. 

The center also serves undergraduates and the public, and is dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food system, while creating the next generation of leaders in sustainable agriculture.

The $4 million anonymous gift is the first step in building a $10 million endowment to ensure the center's long-term productivity.

The enter operates the three-acre Alan Chadwick Garden and the 30-acre UCSC Farm, which serve as research, teaching, and training facilities. Each April, a new crop of apprentices comes to the university to live and work on the farm for six months.