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Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture on California's Central Coast Paperback – September 21, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: University Library, UC Santa Cruz (September 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097233436X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972334365
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Project Director, Interviewer, and Editor Irene Reti directs the Regional History Project at the UC Santa Cruz library, where she has worked as an editor and oral historian since 1989. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a Master’s in History from UC Santa Cruz. Her novel, Kabbalah of Stone, was published in 2010. Interviewer and Editor Sarah Rabkin has taught in UC Santa Cruz’s writing program and environmental studies department for over twenty-five years. She has led an undergraduate seminar for the Program in Community and Agroecology that focuses on concepts of community and agroecology in the context of sustainability. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and a graduate certificate in Science Communication from UCSC. Her book of essays, What I Learned at Bug Camp, was published in 2011. Interviewer Ellen Farmer has a B.A. in journalism from San Jose State University and a Master’s in public policy from the Panetta Institute at California State University, Monterey Bay with a specialization in issues in sustainable agriculture, particularly coffee growing. Farmer worked on an interim basis as marketing director for the California Certified Organic Farmers in 2006.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By La Mona on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
This collection of stories of Central Coast farmers is a true gem, an uplifting and fun read. It reveals how everyday folk followed their passion to produce healthy food without chemicals, often at great financial risk, without success stories to boost them in uncertain moments, and always with tons of hard work. What you end up understanding is how they truly were pioneers even though they really didn't know it. All are humble and many laughingly say some version of "We didn't know what we were doing back then!" We owe them our gratitude for their perseverance and the incredible knowledge of the field that has resulted, making organic agriculture viable on a much larger scale and available to many more people. Not to mention all the great food that has been produced! The bigger story that comes through these oral histories is how people do make remarkable changes in the world in humble ways.
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Format: Paperback
"We in the United States are in the early throes of a revolution," writes historian Linda L. Ivey in the foreword to Cultivating a Movement, "a radical change in the way we think about food." The revolution Ivey refers to is the organic farming movement, the biggest change to American agriculture since the adoption of synthetic pesticides and herbicides after World War II. "For this development in our food industry we can thank, in large part a group of revolutionaries from the Central Coast of California."

More than two dozen of those revolutionary farmers were interviewed for this book, a project of the University of California, Santa Cruz' library. Each chapter contains the narrative from one farmer or farm family, and their stories and perspectives are radically different. Some, like Betty Van Dyke, who grew up on her Croatian-American family's orchard in Cupertino in the 1930s were born to the land; others were hippies, like Amigo Bob Cantisano, founding organizer of the Ecological Farming Conference, the West's largest and oldest sustainable agriculture conference, and a descendent of California's earliest Spanish families. Cantisano began growing food in the backyard of a commune in the late 1960s:

"That's when I started doing gardening, because it was like, starvation time, and the Diggers were giving away free food, but the only thing else that was really around was USDA surplus food, which was a bunch of crap...We didn't have any money, so we started gardening, tore up the backyard and started growing stuff, partly because I had a little experience from when I was a kid, and partly because I was just determined to do it. And then there was one other kid who had grown up and lived on a farm...So the two of us ended up being kind of the commune's gardeners.
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