From the very beginning we set out to create a community farm where people with all abilities could make lasting friendships. Our Fall dance party was a festive, warm, and happy event that brought us together to welcome the season.
What an exciting day it was! On October 1st, young adults, parents, caregivers, teachers from Cabrillo College, and SPIN (Special Parents Information Network) joined us on the farm to celebrate the Fall. Warm hugs and smiles were the theme of the day as friends greeted each other. DJ Jeff rocked the farm with old and new tracks, and everyone danced their hearts out.
Parents and volunteers were not shy to join in, but were also happy to chat and reminisce. It was a great opportunity to show everyone the farm, make new friends, and create plans for the future. Many told us how supportive they were of our ideas and how much an inclusive farm would mean to the disability community in Santa Cruz.
Our delicious BBQ dinner was cooked with love by teachers, and volunteers, like Thomas. Good food and great music brought everyone together, and the beautiful surroundings made the day only more special.
A big thank you to Richard and Tunitas Creek Family Farm for helping us send each of our guests home with an organic pumpkin! And, thank you, Becka York and Cece Pinheiro, for helping us organize the party and for supporting us on our journey!
Lori Iverson is returning to her roots
by Fran Goodwin
After Lori and her family settled in Santa Cruz last year, she began looking for appropriate opportunities in the area for her own daughter who has a disability. By chance, she heard about the newly formed Costanoa Commons, as we had recently moved onto our property and were also "settling in."
Raised on a farm, Lori was immediately drawn to help and became a regular weekly volunteer. Her new home has no garden, so the farm is her chance to "dig in the dirt!"
She has enjoyed learning about our California long growing season, crops, and native plants as she maintains the farm garden and clears the invasive plants from the creek area. Lori always greets you with her warm smile and shares her sense of fun, making everyone happy to see her.
When asked to which words best described Costanoa Commons, Lori replied, "Hope" and "Opportunity." Thank you, Lori, for helping us grow!
Monarchs pay a visit
Every fall, Monarch butterflies arrive in Santa Cruz and other California sites from all over the western United States. Although they gather in a protected grove of eucalyptus trees in Natural Bridges State Park to hibernate for the winter, some have been visiting the farm, adding color to our vibrant sunflowers.
Monarch, the "King of Butterflies," is large, colorful, and prevalent through nearly all of the country. The first butterflies that children see or learn about are likely the Monarchs, so almost everyone knows and appreciates them.
Monarch larvae (caterpillars) live on milkweed, so gardeners can plant milkweed that is native to California to provide needed habitat for the butterflies. To establish a healthy ecosystem on our organic farm, we plan to plant milkweed and other insectary plants in the spring.
Natural Bridges is only about four miles from Costanoa Commons, so if you visit us in the next two months, consider a stop there to see more Monarchs.