We are now hearing from multiple people that Akiko Minami and Micah Posner are saying some things about our situation as co-owners that are incorrect. We thought we’d clarify things.
What we’re hearing that Akiko and Micah are saying:
“We don’t understand why they object to our wanting to build a little unit. We just want what they have.”
“Our little unit isn’t going to impact Fairytale Farm at all. We care about Fairytale Farm, and we wouldn’t do anything to hurt it.”
“This misunderstanding seems so big because we all care about each other so much. We’re so sad this is happening. We even raised our kids together.”
Although many people understand our objections and why we’re so upset about feeling defrauded, we thought we’d try to provide a simple explanation, in hopes that maybe someone can explain to Akiko and Micah and provide them some much-needed clue.
In 2007, the house next door came up for sale, and we planned to buy the property for Debora’s aging parents, and take down the fences to have one giant backyard. We lost the bid by $10,000 and were devastated to learn that the new owners (now former City Council member Micah Posner and his wife Akiko) were planning on building a second house in the backyard, turn the two units into condos, and sell off the front house. Our dirt is rich river soil, and we have the last 2 single family homes on our block. We lost the house, but wanted to at least save the garden’s potential, so we proposed that they could live in the existing house, not build a second house, and we would invest in the property instead. We wrote them a letter stating our purpose: that we wished to keep these two houses single-family homes forever. The house had sold for $675,000, and they told us in order to make it affordable for them, we would have to buy 39%, at $265,000. So we hired a lawyer and wrote a Tenancy In Common (TIC) agreement, took out a loan against our house, and sunk ourselves into enormous debt. And Fairytale Farm began!
We had a training workshop today at the Riverside Gardens Park Public Fruit Tree Orchard with Andy Moskowitz of Seedculture.organd Steve Schnaar from the Fruit Tree Project. The pear and apple trees are growing nicely. Andy trained a few trees with string and stakes in the ground. Others branches were propped wider with wood splints. We want air flow, light, and enough space between limbs.
The grapes that we planted around the arbor are looking good.
And the community garden beds are blooming and growing vegetables! There are scarlett runner beans, corn, squash, basil, peas, flowers, tomatoes, peppers, and marigolds. Beautiful!
The pollinators are happy. The neighborhood bees (I wonder if they are from my hive?) are already enjoying this orange torch tithonia. Scarlett runner beans grow up corn. I love how the gardeners are planting so many flowers with their vegetables, especially my favorite; sweet peas, marigolds and snapdragons!
The blueberries I planted several years ago are doing pretty good, considering they are not getting quite the water they need…I come by every few months and give them acid based fertilizer.
Here are two varieties of apples and pears we planted in the orchard.
We are breaking ground on the expansion of the orchard next to Mike Fox Skate Park this winter. Stay tuned!
To read more about Riverside Gardens Park and our Public Fruit Tree Orchard, here are a few articles about our first year. Just imagine this orchard in a decade…there will be so much fruit for all!
Where: 728 and 232 Riverside Ave; a few houses from Broadway
When: 10 AM to 2 PM – Saturday, September 24th
On Saturday, September 24th we are hosting a Fairytale Farm tour of our garden! Come visit our chickens and bees, see our 30 fruit trees and other vegetables growing. Learn what we’ve been sowing here at the farm, and come check out our interns’ work. We’ve been teaching UCSC interns how to farm for 2 years now, and they have tended to the garden, learned how to farm and process foods, and created a Fairytale Farm logo, planting calendar, recipe book with perennial herbs, t-shirts and prints. Everyone is invited, and this is a family friendly event. Stroll down to Riverside Gardens Park, and come see the community garden beds and Santa Cruz’ first public fruit orchard!
We’re saving the Beach Flats Garden corn and have 10 foot tall beautiful corn waiting to dry into tortillas.We have a new kitten on the farm, and our 6 chickens are happily eating Cafe DelMarette compost every week. Come join us!
On Sunday, February 15th, 2015 the public was invited to come plant the first public fruit orchard in Santa Cruz! Located at Riverside Gardens Park (between San Lorenzo Blvd and Riverside Ave), the orchard was proposed by the Fruit Tree Project and is being organized with David Shaw from UCSC’s Common Ground Center with input from William Rubel and support from the neighborhood. The three year plan includes year one: pears and apples on either side of the compost bins, kept small and flat against the fence so the walkway is intact. We also planted 4 grapes along the arbor. In late 2016, we will be planting a much larger public orchard next to Mike Fox Skate Park. Stay tuned for several public soil improving sessions, starting after the first rains.
We worked with the city to install a drip watering line for the new orchard, and the trees will be maintained and pruned by the Fruit Tree Project and neighbors (like me!). The fruit itself will be free to the public. The blueberries in Riverside Gardens Park are the biggest and tastiest I have ever seen…
We are accepting donations for the trees themselves, and planted a historic pear that once stood in orchards on this land back in the days of the famous Riverside Hotel.
It’s a historic moment in Santa Cruz. Hopefully it will be just the beginning, and fruit orchards will soon be popping up all over the place, like the rail-to-trail line, or the river walk. Help plant a public orchard in your neighborhood!
Fairytale Farm is accepting UCSC interns every quarter to help out in the garden. If you are interested in working with us, go to the UCSC Internship Office and ask for a form to fill out for us to sign. You will also need to find a UCSC professor to sponsor you for the quarter. You can either take a 2 unit internship which requires 6 hours a week, or a 5 unit internship which requires 12 hours a week. We will work with you to come up with a project for the 5 hour internship which may involve independent hours researching and writing off of the farm. We usually have 2-5 interns a quarter, and are looking for not only agroecology majors, but artists, students into blogging and social media, photography, herbalism, and food production. We have students help design calendars, informational books, and lead garden tours for us. You can just come and plant and harvest vegetables and flowers, but you can come do a lot of other fun things too!
Fairytale Farm had the privilege of hosting world renowned chef and artist Jim Denevan who cooked up an organic, locally-sourced, backyard fundraiser feast for the Micah Posner for City Council campaign. We were so successful, along with all of the volunteer helpers throughout the campaign, that Micah won!
The table was so long, we had to keep our gates open, so everyone could see the festivities from the street.
Jim and Micah’s friendship goes way back to when Jim was the founder of People Power, the Santa Cruz transportation advocacy group. Since then, Jim has created the internationally known Outstanding in the Field farm-to-table dinners, as well as his own acclaimed art. Here Jim and Micah speak about their relationship, and what inspired Micah to run for city council.
It was a delicious and beautiful dinner, and we were proud to provide the garden space for it. Fairytale Farm is a part of Micah’s backyard, so we are pleased to have a city councilmember as one of our garden gnomes!