Former NFL player learning to feed the hungry at UC Santa Cruz
Former NFL star defensive end Kalimba Edwards is on an ambitious mission: He hopes to one day create a self-sustaining food system that can feed the nation’s hungry and homeless.
“But first I have to learn how to grow the food,” says Edwards, 36, who had never farmed in his life until he arrived at the 30-acre teaching farm at UC Santa Cruz earlier this spring.
Edwards played six seasons with the Detroit Lions before signing a two-year contract with the Oakland Raiders in 2008. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, he played in 101 NFL games and is credited with 165 tackles and 31 sacks.
Today, he is an apprentice at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) ecological horticulture program, an immersive six-month curriculum that trains future organic farmers, gardeners, teachers and community leaders in environmentally and socially responsible farming methods.
The apprenticeship program began at UC Santa Cruz in 1967 with English master gardener Alan Chadwick and is beginning celebrations to mark its 50th year.
Enrolling at the ecological horticulture program is part of a new life journey for Edwards that began when his professional football career ended in 2010.
Read full story about Edwards’ journey from football success to helping the hungry.