What is PICA?
The Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) is an educational program focused on experiential learning, sustainability, and food systems. All UCSC students are welcome to participate in the garden workdays and workshops offered. Students have the opportunity to grow their own food together, share meals together, and explore ways to live more sustainably. PICA is located at the entrance to the Village at the UCSC campus, right across from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS).
PICA's primary academic mission is to engage students with sustainability through practical experience and the sharing of community based knowledge. Emerging themes of discussion include, but are not limited to: power dynamics (racism, classism, sexism, etc.), lack of representation, knowledge validation, staff and student relationships (student autonomy), student accountability, and intentional inclusivity. PICA will offer a unique space to students of color in an effort to avoid, mitigate, and eliminate racism, classism, tokenization, white privilege, oppression, marginalization, identity policing, and space policing in historically white garden spaces and take steps towards accountability, truth telling and positive change. Through practical training in agroecology and organic gardening, student involvement in campus and community gardens, and the development of local composting projects, PICA students are able to integrate Agroecological principles of sustainability, food production, food justice, and social justice into everyday life. In so doing, PICA students will be better prepared to work for tangible change in the food system outside of an academic setting.
In the words of PICA students...
"For two years I lived at the Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) in the Village. PICA aims to educate and engage local and global communities and promote the practice of sustainable and equitable food systems. In particular it enables students to look up from their rigorous coursework and contemplate how social and food justice influences our everyday lives."