Explorations of PICA

As PICA’s Events Coordinator, I have the pleasure of planning and coordinating several workshops each quarter. Thanks to generous support from the Campus Sustainability Council (CSC), these workshops are free to all UCSC students and offer participants an opportunity to engage in hands-on education in sustainable living skills. I am beaming at the end of each workshop, grateful for the wonderful opportunity to learn and share wisdom from great facilitators – all with a plethora of knowledge. Each time a new joy is shared, a new discovery made, and the students that are participating in the workshop respond with excitement and wonder.

In our Canning Workshop, students pickled organic carrots from the farmers market and organic green beans grown on the UCSC Farm as part of Steve Gliessman’s agroecology class. We cooked up some delicious pumpkin butter with organic squash graciously donated by Molino Creek and Two Dog farms.

During the recent Plant Identification Workshop, we wandered around the Sustainable Living Center, The Village and Jordan Gulch, all located on the UCSC campus, to discover, identify, and examine the medicinal qualities of plants. Collectively, we shared questions and insights from both our personal experiences and the information participants had gained from their previous plant studies.

It is inspiring to live and work at PICA. This vibrantcommunity amazes me with its dear friends and deep connections to food systems. We enlighten and teach one another every day. It is difficult to simply greet a PICAn in passing and not get consumed in feverish conversation. I walk outside my door into the Foundational Roots Garden, lured by the rosemary and lemons, which are now ripening. I look around and remember that, as students, we are doing much more than growing food and expanding our minds with academia. We are growing as individuals in community, a conscious lifestyle, a home. What a delight to know that this wonderful niche is exactly where I want to be. This community, connected to food systems and a sustainable lifestyle, is boundless, jovial, and thriving.

Lidia Tropeano is PICA’s Events Coordinator extraordinaire

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