2014 Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch Canceled

April 11, 2014
Santa Paula News

“It’s with great regret that I announce the cancellation of the 2014 Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch due to actions taken by the University of California and the Hansen Trust Advisory Board,” said Santa Paula Rotary President Rick Araiza.  Approximately 20,000 people will be deprived of the historic Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch experience.

 “We realize that the closure of the Pumpkin Patch will create an economic hardship in Santa Paula -  a city with the lowest per-capita income and the greatest minority population, 79.5%, in Ventura County - as the Rotary Pumpkin Patch donated approximately $100,000 annually to various schools, youth groups, sports and worthwhile community projects,” said Araiza.  In addition, local business vendors and non-profit groups earned about $125,000 at the Pumpkin Patch, Rotary spent $90,000 on local businesses to run the event and tourism dollars came to the local area.

 “The Santa Paula Pumpkin Patch Committee attempted to work with the Hansen Trust to permit the Pumpkin Patch to run for an additional transitional year while we sought another venue” said Ginger Gherardi, Committee member.  “While giving the appearance of cooperation, UC instead chose to discriminate against the Rotary Club by establishing new conditions and barriers which are not uniformly applied to other UC campuses and property throughout the state, or even at the Hansen Trust, making it impossible for the Rotary operated Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch to continue” Gherardi said.

 To justify its actions, UC/Hansen Trust stated that the professional exhibits provided by the Resource Conservation District, United Water Conservation District, Limoneira, CoLab, Calavo, the Cattleman’s Association, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Associates Insectary, FFA petting area & Briggs 4-H seed exhibit were of poor quality and no educational value. The  educational hayride script and school program, developed by Hansen Trust staff, were also deemed educationally meaningless.  Interestingly, 63% of the people visiting the Pumpkin Patch last year (a significantly higher number than the total visiting the farm for the entire remaining 11 months of the year) said they learned something new about agriculture during their visit.

 “Again, we regret the actions taken by the UC and the expected negative impact that it will have on Santa Paula, especially on the kids” said Araiza. “It is very difficult to raise funds in Santa Paula to support youth activities, so having 75% of the visitors to the Pumpkin Patch come from other areas of Southern California was a big help.”

 “About 100 volunteers, worked each October weekend to operate the Pumpkin Patch and earn funds not needed in more affluent areas and this is a real loss that will be felt for a long time,” Araiza said.

 If you would like further information, please see www.faulknerfarmpumpkinpatch.com. The Rotary Club of Santa Paula encourages you to share your thoughts about the actions taken by UC and the Hansen Trust with:

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