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January 16, 2022

Congressman Panetta announces farmworker aid

jimmy panetta farmworkers
ROYAL OAKS—Congressman Jimmy Panetta was on the Central Coast Thursday, touting two pandemic assistance programs he helped pass that will benefit agriculture workers and the industries that employ them. The Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program will provide $650 million in grants to food...

Open Farm Tours to return this weekend

Open Farm Tours
PAJARO VALLEY—Open Farm Tours returns this Saturday and Sunday to the greater Pajaro Valley, with eight local farms participating in two days of events.  Originally started in 2014 as the Corralitos Open Farm Tour, the event has continued to grow and add more farms from...

Lakeside Organic Gardens celebrates 25 years

When Dick Peixoto decided in 1996 to convert his 55-acre farm in Watsonville to an organic production, he wasn’t sure if he’d made the right decision.  Peixoto had been farming conventionally for years, and back then, organic produce was a specialty—something only smaller farms tended...

Santa Cruz’s Charlie Hong Kong serves lunch to local farmworkers

lakeside lunch
WATSONVILLE—About two dozen farmworkers settled in on picnic tables at a Lakeside Organic Gardens field Wednesday for a fresh, healthy lunch featuring the very crops they harvest.  The meal was prepared by Charlie Hong Kong, a Santa Cruz Asian fusion restaurant that was Lakeside’s first...

USDA announces increase to CalFresh benefits

WATSONVILLE—Starting on Oct. 1, anyone receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known in California as CalFresh, will see a slight increase to the amount they receive each month. The changes to the federal Thrifty Food Plan comes thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture...

Organization aims to integrate beneficial songbirds on farms

WATSONVILLE—For more than 20 years, Watsonville-based organization Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) has aimed to find a sustainable balance between conservation and agriculture. Established by a like-minded group of wildland proponents and ecological farming advocates, WFA’s primary goal is to bring nature back into the industry. “As...

Strawberry Commission reports healthy fruit, high demand

According to the California Strawberry Commission, about 90% of all strawberries in the U.S. are grown in California. The fruit thrives in the state, due to its need for year-round moderate weather, which allows its roots to grow strong and stable.  On the Central Coast, consistent...

Key environmental legislation passes assembly

CALIFORNIA—As California recovers from a historic heatwave, the State Assembly last week passed three bills by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) to help fight the climate crisis, incentivize sustainable agriculture, and advance environmental justice for all.  “California has ambitious environmental goals, and the advancement of my...

Local water agency works toward long-term drought solutions

  In 1983, a group of local farmers looking for ways to manage the Pajaro Valley’s groundwater basin formed the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (PVWMA). A year later, the agency was officially recognized by the state legislature, who tasked them to stop groundwater overdraft...

Orchard offers u-pick roses, outdoor fun

There is now a new way to assemble your own bouquet of roses, thanks to a pick-your-own rose venue at Birdsong Orchards in Watsonville. Owner Nadine Schaeffer said she is growing dozens of varieties of roses on her 8-acre parcel where she also tends to...
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Older adult programs shutter as Covid-19 cases rise

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—In early November 2021, Meals on Wheels’ (MOW) congregate meal sites reopened to older adults across Santa Cruz County for the first...