By Collin Breaux
The Ecology Center regularly hosts dinner nights, educational days during which kids and families can learn about seeds and seasonal crops, as well as other fun community events.
Now, the San Juan Capistrano farm and learning hub is preparing to host Milpa Musical Festival, a new event scheduled for Nov. 12-13.
The use of the word “milpa” comes from a practice by Indigenous farmers that focuses on organic agriculture and a polyculture of corn, beans, and squash during the harvest season.
Ecology Center Director of Engagement and Impact Jonathan Zaidman said they have been holding seasonal celebrations for the past few years, typically in the spring and fall. Those events have an educational component, and while Milpa will still include that, The Ecology Center wanted to add some extra flavor.
“This year, we decided to liven it up a little with some music,” Zaidman said.
The two-day festival will feature numerous bands each day coming from Los Angeles, San Diego and throughout Orange County. Sounds will range from surf music to jazz to other styles.
“We wanted to express the local sound of Southern California,” Zaidman said. “It’s as diverse as our agriculture.”
A storytelling tent, fermentation workshop and other informational components will also be featured at Milpa.
As for food and refreshments, Zaidman said they will have a pizza oven “roaring,” along with beverage stations and local artisans available.
The Milpa experience is intended to model what a sustainable maker village can be, Zaidman said.
“The music and the art and the celebration is just as important as anything else,” he said. “There are always interesting ways to draw people to a movement—and if that’s through a music festival, then that’s great.”
Visit theecologycenter.org for more information.
Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.