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Sustainable Systems Research Foundation

Organization Mission

The Sustainable Systems Research Foundation is a green think tank and project incubator based in Santa Cruz. We work on complex, systemic environmental and sustainability problems that confound communities, defy singular technical or social solutions and require localized solutions. We pursue projects that are replicable and scalable, based on best practices and insights drawn from successful projects. Our philosophy is that a project or program implemented successfully at one site can be replicated in many other places, with adjustments to local conditions.

The Big Idea 2023:
Regenerative Agriculture for Latinx Farmers (RALF)

There are growing numbers of Latinx farmers in Santa Cruz County, many of whom made the jump from farmworker to operating their own farm. These passionate, entrepreneurial farmers struggle daily to stay in business. They need your help!

Regenerative agriculture benefits farmers directly, as well as our community and climate. Regenerative agriculture prioritizes soil health. Healthy soils capture and store large amounts of carbon, reducing atmospheric carbon. By focusing holistically on the relationships between people, land, and farm ecosystems we can create environmental health and local food security.

We collaborate with the California Alliance with Family Farmers and Whiskey Hill Farms, a pioneer in regenerative agriculture. Together, we are conducting a series of workshops designed to help increase productivity, conserve soil and water, and earn greater profits targeted to new and experienced Latinx farmers.

In these hands-on workshops, farmers learn about:
• New, higher-value crops
• How to adopt and adapt closed-loop regenerative technologies, techniques and practices to their specific conditions
• The managerial and operational requirements for successful farming.
• Opportunities for state and federal support.

This project has received funding from the US Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, but these grants do not cover the full costs. Your contribution will go directly to training costs and direct support for Latinx farmers participating in the workshops.

Not only are we helping small farmers but we’re also helping our community by pushing local and seasonal. Helping the local economy. Helping the environment. They are helping so many things at once.

Maria Catalan, Hollister