Physical Campus Closure - Institute will be reopening campuses for courses in a concurrent format for the spring 2022 quarter (see further details)

flowers in the organic garden at Lambert

The Organic Gardens At Pacifica

Our year round production from 7 acres yields magnificent produce at reasonable prices and in the most sustainable manner. Produce is available to staff, students, faculty and the community from these demonstration mini-market gardens. The farm is located at 249 Lambert Road on Pacifica’s lower campus. We specialize in advanced and traditional organic growing practices and produce a wide variety of organic herbs, fruits, grains and vegetables.
We practice and teach sustainable farming and seed saving techniques. We host interns and volunteers to augment the work of paid staff. If you are interested in volunteering on the farm for an exchange for food or farming education, please contact Marshall Chrostowski.

To us some important aspects of growing year-round include:

  • Shunning use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Managing pests, soils and microhabitats following integrated pest management principles and practices.
  • Using organic transplants from untreated, non-genetically modified seeds.
  • Producing our own compost to improve soil conditions and supply basic plant nutrition.
  • Maintaining a system of permanent raised planting beds.
  • Rotating crops to minimize pests, diseases and to optimize soil fertility.
  • Trialing old and new varieties to discover those best adapted to this bio-region.
  • Maintaining habitats supporting beneficial insect life with abundant flowering plants in farm beds and surrounding gardens to support a healthier ecosystem.
  • Maintaining a collection of rare fava beans, ancient grains and other crop seeds.
  • Presenting educational programs including garden tours, workshops, and consulting.
The garden crew harvesting squash

Our Roots

The Lambert campus of Pacifica Graduate Institute is located in a historically and ecologically unique part of the world. The land has been occupied for thousands of years, each group of inhabitants having left their mark on the land. Chumash Native Americans were replaced by a series of immigrant land owners; then in the early 20th century, Max Fleischmann built his Edgewood Ranch on the site, the core of which now comprises some of Pacifica’s major buildings. At one time the Edgewood property included 1200 acres of fruit trees and other agriculture.

Our long range vision for the Lambert campus is to sustain a green belt around the heart of the campus. This green belt is comprised of seven acres of edible landscaping and four acres of gardens representing the various Mediterranean regions of the world. We believe that our work honors and nourishes the life systems that have flourished on this land, past and present, in both their ecological and spiritual dimensions. All parts of the landscaping stimulate the minds and hearts of visitors and occupants while honoring our history.

Beets growing in the organic farm

History of the Farm

Marshall Chrostowski was the founder of the Organic Market Gardens and the land manager for both campuses. He holds advanced degrees in soil science, plant and tropical ecology, and ethnobotany. He came to Pacifica in 1989 to renovate the long abandoned grounds and orchards. In 1990 Marshall called on Pacifica and the greater South Coast community to plant the first major grain, garlic and fava bean grow-out in the field now occupied by South Hall. By 1993, several acres had been set aside for a demonstration urban mini-farm, expanding over the next 5 years into a local food source for Pacifica’s community and the greater Santa Barbara area. Seed conservation continued to be featured, accompanied by special grow-outs and workshops on seed saving and organic gardening. During the latter part of the 1990’s, the farm hosted developmentally challenged individuals and their job coaches. Graduates of the program have moved on to productive working lives.

Members of our landscape maintenance crew assist in preparing farm beds, weeding, tending chickens, and processing organic material for the many tons of compost prepared each year.

We invite you to take a tour of the beautiful gardens. We welcome your participation in our farming tradition. To us, growing food is a life-enhancing, educational experience we want to share. Please see more information on the Pacifica web site about visiting and parking.

Marshall in the garden next to Amaranth