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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Heidi Skolnik: Pioneering Apprentice, UCSC Farm and Garden


Heidi Skolnik grew up in California and graduated from Santa Cruz High School. At age nineteen, she volunteered at the Chadwick Garden on the UC Santa Cruz campus, working with Alan Chadwick and Steve Kaffka in the very early 1970s. Her memories of the Garden, as well as of the neighborhood buying co-ops, buying clubs, and natural food stores of that time, are detailed, conjuring up the early history of organic foods distribution. When the Student Garden Project expanded to include a farm at the base of campus (on the great meadow), Skolnik and a group of students and non-students who called themselves “The Home Farmers” lived in teepees on the Farm. In this oral history, conducted by Ellen Farmer at Skolnik’s home on the San Francisco Peninsula on May 17, 2007, she shares her recollections of these early years of the Farm and the Garden, as well as her time with Santa Cruz Trucking, a wholesale organic food distribution company associated with the natural foods collective Community Foods.

Later, Skolnik trained as a health psychologist. She believes there is a strong connection between access to healthy food and the health of individuals and communities, thus connecting her years in the garden and trucking around organic food with her current career.

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