Taste: Milpa

COST: $15
per person, children under 2 are free
Age:Designed for children and their families.
Location: The Ecology Center
32701 Alipaz Street
San Juan Capistrano
CA 92675
Parking:Please park in the lot behind our barn when you arrive. If there are no more spots, overflow parking is on Del Obispo Street. Please hold onto your belongings, we are not responsible for anything lost. Should you lose something, contact us at [email protected], and we’ll do our best to locate it.
Where to meet:Please meet in the courtyard behind the Farm House to begin your Taste experience.

Photo Policy:
You are welcome to take photos on the Farm, make sure to tag @theecologycenter on Instagram or Facebook!

All captured content taken by The Ecology Center of its guests and experience is the property of The Ecology Center. All captured content of TASTE posted publicly, by outside persons, is released to The Ecology Center for public use.

The Ecology Center has reimagined the traditional harvest festival into a multi-sensory celebration of history, culture, and the land that nourishes us all.

Following the success of last spring’s TASTE: Strawberry, the autumn edition of our TASTE festival series is designed for children and their families to enjoy an immersive experience of art, music, flavor, and fun. Capacity for this special event is limited, so sign up today!

Artwork of DJ Javier depicting skeletons holding, corn, bean and squash.

The story of the milpa begins long ago, when human beings first began to farm this land. Corn provides a sturdy structure for growing plants, lifting them up to reach the warm sunlight. Beans climb the cornstalk while spreading their network of roots through the earth, stabilizing the soil and nourishing it with nitrogen and other minerals. Squash vines twine and tangle over the ground, their large leaves providing shade and moisture to protect the delicate seedlings.

These plants do more than provide nourishment to our bodies. They provide a pattern for growing strong cultures and healthy communities. By aligning our Village life with the patterns of nature—structure, nourishment, protection—we can sustain our ancestors’ legacy to ensure an abundant future for all.  

Join us on an imaginative journey as we discover how the story of the milpa nourishes our story as a community.

Eat — Tasting Our Traditions

If you thought corn came in just one color, think again! Our first Milpa station will introduce you to the 15 regenerative varieties of corn grown on The Ecology Center farm, all bringing their own colors, textures, and tastes to our bioregional foodways. Using the traditional tools and techniques of our land’s ancestors, we’ll grind the corn into masa, mix it with water and salt, decorate with edible flowers, then press and bake into tortillas for us to enjoy together.

Grow — Discover Diversity In a Single Seed 

Seeds are more than just the beginning of a delicious meal. They are a universe of their own, with as many different colors and shapes as the plants they become. Discover the possibility in a bowl of multicolored seeds as you work together to shell beans and shuck corn, then use them to reproduce a beautiful mandala design created by our Village artists. We’ll then bring an offering of seeds and masa to our Harvest Altar, a place for honoring the ancestors whose passion, knowledge, and imagination paved the way for our Village life today.   

Make — A Harvest Of Heritage

In Mesoamerican culture, the scent of marigold garlands (cempasuchitl) was believed to guide ancestral spirits back to visit their loved ones. After weaving our own garlands, we’ll decorate the Harvest Altar with flowers, seeds and art as we remember the legacy our ancestors left to nourish and inspire us, from the soil under our feet to the flavors on our table to spirits within us.

Art: The Style of Seasonality

The look and feel of TASTE: Milpa has been specially crafted by our Village artists, Nereo Zago and DJ Javier. Both leaders in socially conscious, multi-disciplinary art and design, their creative imagination and skill are responsible for the giant skull centerpiece that adorns our Harvest Altar, as well as the seed mandala that we’ll reproduce together during our Milpa journey.

Pumpkins in field


Q: When will TASTE begin?

A: TASTE: MILPA will run from the weekend of October 23rd to November 13th.

Q: What is the duration of TASTE?

A: The TASTE experience will last about 45 minutes, but you may find yourself enjoying more time around the farm!

Q: Is there an age requirement?

A: No, but the TASTE experience has been created for families with children ages 2 to 12.

Q: What are your Health and Safety Protocols?

A: TASTE groups will be limited to 25 or fewer participants (adults + children). You are welcome to purchase a full group block of tickets for your family and group of friends (up to 25 people). Each station will be sanitized between groups. Adults are asked to keep their masks on during the experience. 

Q: Do you offer refunds or exchange of tickets?

A: Due to the limitation of each group size, we are unable to accommodate refunds or ticket exchanges.