Farming for a cause


Annual event benefits Farm Discovery programs

WATSONVILLE — Pointing into an outdoor animal pen, Esperanza Leonor-Sanchez proceeded to explain a small goat’s behavior to onlookers.

“It’s putting its head back like that to scratch an itch,” the young girl exclaimed. “It’s using its horns!”

Esperanza and her older brother, Luis, were attending Farm Discovery’s “Pollinate: A Feast in the Fields Benefit” on Saturday as special speakers. Both have attended and been involved in the organization, which is based at Live Earth Farm off of Green Valley Road.

The Farm Discovery nonprofit was officially founded in 2007 to expand the farm’s education programs. They now host about 2,000 children every year, who learn about food, nutrition and nature on the 150-acre farm.

Executive Director Jessica Ridgeway said at Saturday’s benefit event that 100 percent of proceeds will go directly to those programs.

“We really have to thank our sponsors for making this event happen,” she said. “All the money donated can now go directly to the kids.”

This was the ninth year that Farm Discovery held its benefit dinner. Live music, informative booths, drinks, as well as a silent and live auction were offered to guests.

But as always, the main event was the food. True to Farm Discovery’s mission, everything served was sourced and created by local farms and businesses.

Appetizers were served up by Santa Cruz’s Assembly restaurant. A salad and main course of chuck roast, vegetables and potatoes were created by Nicholas Church of Chaminade Resort & Spa. Desserts from Buttercup Cakes and Mission Hill Creamery then followed.

As guests were enjoying their meal, Luis Esperanza took to the stage to give his personal thanks.

“This farm, this program, is so important to me,” he said. “It’s all about showing kids where their food comes from, how the environment affects them. What they learn here can really improve their life.”


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