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Photo of participants building a cob oven
Participants in UCSC's agroecology short course built a cob oven of earth and straw. Five days later, the group baked pizza in it. Photo: Joey Smith

UCSC hosts international group for agroecology short course

Fourteen visitors from South Korea, Japan, Nigeria, Italy, Mexico, Greece, and Nepal joined six UCSC students for a 10-day course on sustainable agriculture offered through UCSC's Program In Community and Agroecology (PICA).

The course, which ran July 6-16, focused on current agroecology research that will be valuable to participants in field and academic settings in their home countries, said PICA director Karen Nordstrom. Participants attended numerous workshops, including sessions on organic olive production and cob construction, a building method that makes use of local resources, including earth, straw, rice stalks, and other materials that are often considered agricultural waste products. Participants built a cob oven to learn about the process. Cob structures are long-lasting and naturally insulated from extremes of heat and cold.

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