Camp Joy Gardens is a small, organic family farm that is run as an educational non-profit organization. Since 1971 we have been teaching ourselves and others how to live more sustainable lives through gardening, animal husbandry, food preservation, and other skills of simple living.
Over the years we have offered opportunities to learn by working with us in the garden, as well as held classes on a variety of topics, for children and adults.
The fruits, flowers, and vegetables of our labor are sold to people in our Santa Cruz mountains, either through a CSA or to local stores and restaurants, and at our annual events as delicious farm made products.
It is our hope to share some of what we have learned over more than 53 years of living close to the land, to offer seasonal glimpses of what is happening in the garden, and to help connect members of the Camp Joy community.
Training Future Farmers
Every year, from April through November, Camp Joy accepts 4-6 apprentices. Apprentices receive free education and room & board. Many of our alumni have gone on to become farmers, horticulturalists, seed savers, and sustainability leaders.
We are committed to organic, small-scale agriculture and responsible soil management. We make our own compost, practice biodynamic techniques, and integrate animals in the improvement of soil fertility.
Camp Joy founders, Jim Nelson and Beth Benjamin, were trained in the French intensive technique under Alan Chadwick. Our daily work continues this tradition and we also pass on our own developed techniques to students so that future generations can benefit from our experiences.
Throughout the year Camp Joy organizes a variety of events such as plant sales, workshops, and school tours. The garden is also open to the public and in the summer, we share our flowers and produce on the farm cart for our community to enjoy.