Paul Glowaski, Garden Director for the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz, California, was born in 1979 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. During the summers, he helped on his grandfather’s grain and cattle farm. Glowaski studied Latin American history at DePauw University in Indiana, and traveled to Mexico as part of a delegation of college students to Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas shortly after the Zapatista uprising. He was part of the Chiapas Media Project in the Mexico Solidarity Network. His experiences with farmers in Chiapas affected him deeply. After graduation, Glowaski joined Americorps’ National Civilian Community Corps, and worked with people who are homeless. He continued this work at the Committee on Temporary Shelter in Burlington, Vermont. Interested in urban agriculture because it offered self-sufficiency and food security to those in low-income communities, Glowaski decided to pursue training in organic farming, embarking on a path that led first to an organic farm in Kentucky, then to an apprenticeship at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, and finally to his current position at the Homeless Garden Project.
The Homeless Garden Project runs a two-acre market farm in Santa Cruz that trains low-income and homeless community members in sustainable agriculture, also supporting a CSA that provides organic fruits and vegetables to Santa Cruz County residents. As farm manager of the Homeless Garden Project, Glowaski brings together his passions for economic, social, ecological, and food justice. With his friend Cooper Funk, Glowaski also runs Urban Eggs, a consulting business that teaches city residents how to raise chickens in their backyards. This interview with Paul Glowaski was conducted by Irene Reti on February 9, 2009 in the Regional History offices at McHenry Library, UC Santa Cruz.