Groundswell Farm

Owner:Heather and James Cook

GroundSwell Farm is a small 3-acre certified organic urban farm. It is located on the upper Westside of Santa Cruz.


Groundswell is an urban micro-farm located on the Westside of Santa Cruz. Farm owners Heather and James Cook have been growing food for almost a decade, tucked in a neighborhood along Moore Creek Preserve. The farm benefits greatly from the bio-diversity of this semi-wild region. Though Groundswell is a seasonal, small farm of just about three acres, James and Heather produce a lot of food, as much as 5 tons of tomatoes each year among their other crops including padron peppers, shallots, winter squash and onions. They sell to restaurants and at farmers' markets.


Prior to farming, Heather received her bachelor's degree in environmental and agricultural studies and worked in landscaping. Meanwhile, ideas of farming were marinating in the background. She felt that organic produce should be accessible to all and not elitist, being that food is one of the most important things for humans. Heather was inspired to provide it in her own community. For James farming was not a radical idea, his uncle is a farmer and growing organic just made sense. With a shared vision Heather and James approached an existing farm called Meder Street and partnered for a couple of years developing their skills in the hoe and the tractor, cultivation and farm planning. Later, they were offered the opportunity to farm the neighboring land and thus Groundswell Farm was born.

Pest Management:

Biodiversity, using the natural forest surrounding the farmland, gopher traps and planting techniques. Peppers, of which they grow many varieties, are not particularly vulnerable to pests.


Sandy loam and remaining gravel from previous equestrian center, the soil seems to improve each year as the build it up with cover crops, which fix nitrogen, and remain committed to growing a diversity of plants which rotate around the land encouraging a balance ecological system.

Water Use:

Well water and drip tape.

Weed Control:

Mechanical extraction, planting techniques.