Cowell Hay Barn: Then and Now

The Hay Barn renovation was completed in 2015 (photo by Cesar Rubio)

The Hay Barn and the UCSC Farm and Chadwick Garden are managed by the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology, an organization that works to advance agroecology and equitable food systems through research, education and public service. The 30-acre UCSC Farm and the Chadwick Garden serve as outdoor classrooms and research sites, and feature organically managed gardens, row crops, orchards, research plots, and an aquaculture research facility (Farm).

The original Cowell Ranch Hay Barn was built in the early 1860s as part of the Cowell Lime Works operation. The Hay Barn was an integral part of the Cowell Ranch, housing feed and the animals that hauled logs, limestone, and finished lime. Today the Hay Barn and the many nearby historic structures from the lime works period are part of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District.

old hay barn

The original Hay Barn was completely disassembled and renovated in 2015 to serve as a space for public use and headquarters of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology.

old hay barn

The reconstructed Hay Barn incorporates some of the historic barn's heavy timbers and siding, and features traditional mortise-and-tenon framing juxtaposed with modern materials and contemporary design, to achieve a rustic yet visually distinct building. The award winning result is a beautiful and dramatic signature building with a soaring, spacious interior offering a unique setting for weddings, banquets, concerts, conferences, and much more.

wine tasting


The Hay Barn is conveniently located near the main entrance to the UCSC campus within the campus's Cowell Lime Works Historic District. Next to the Hay Barn is the beautiful 30-acre UCSC Farm, which offers breathtaking views of the Monterey Bay.

ocean view

The Hay Barn is a large and flexible space, easily accommodating an event any month of the year! The space is large enough to hold a lecture, business conference, wedding ceremony and reception inside in the main hall. In warm weather, you can open both of the large bay doors to extend your event outdoors. For late-season events, the Hay Barn stays nice and warm with radiant floor heating offering guests a comfortable space in cooler weather.

We also offer an outdoor ceremony site on the Farm at our Ocean View Field, which operates (weather permitting) from early July through October, as a separate hourly rental.

exterior hay barn

Please email, if you would like to schedule a tour or have any questions. The Hay Barn is located at 94 Ranch View Road, Santa Cruz, CA. 95064, at the base of campus.  


 Click here for information on the rental process


table decor

For more information on the UC Santa Cruz Center For Agroecology and the Organic Farm, please visit our website at

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