Urban Agriculture in Stockton, California

FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin | October 30th, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Boggs Tract Community Farm
Stockton, CA

Theme: Urban Agriculture

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kenda Templeton, Puentes Deputy Director & Operations Manager
Clifton Maxwell, Urban Farm Manager
Javier Gardea, Urban Forestry Coordinator
George Dale, Bee Keeper

Summary of the Day:
The San Joaquin FARMS Leadership Program began our field days for the 2018-2019 school year at Boggs Tract Community Farm in Stockton, CA learning about urban agriculture. Bogg’s Tract Community Farm allows local residents to lease a plot to grow food for their families or to sell at local farmer’s markets. There are also other crops grown to support the region year around as well as farm fresh eggs and honey being produced. The community farm also hosts numerous work shops and education events year around.

The FARMS Leadership students were able to learn about irrigation and pull out and replace irrigation lines in the garden beds. They also fixed up some of the garden beds and leveled them out, added soil, and replaced the straw over the top. The students also learned about compost and were able to help make more for the farms use. In addition to that they were able to plant some winter crops with the Urban Farm Manager, Clifton Maxwell. After lunch the students were visited by George Dale who is a local Bee Keeper. The community farm is one of the locations where George farms bee’s and he was a wealth of knowledge for the students to learn about bee keeping and he provided an endless supply of facts about honey bee’s.

Kern County Students Take On Viticulture

FARMS Leadership | Kern County | October 2, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Kimberlina Facility | Bakersfield, CA 93308

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Fernando Garcia – Director of Northern Operations
Josh Legorreta – Shipping Manager
Cecilia Rivera – In-House Packing Director
David Fenn – Executive Vice President of Farming
Michael Strambi – Wasco Farming Director
Terry Bacon – Vice President of Variety Development
Monica Escoto – Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety
Danielle Loustalot – Marketing Manager
Tammy Collum – Sales Executive

Theme: Food Production |Consumer Science

Summary of the Day:
A grape story behind our favorite snack! Students from 5 different high schools: Bakersfield Christian, Independence High, Frontier High, Ridgeview High, and West High Schools kicked off our 2018-19 Kern County FARMS Leadership year by coming together and learning about grapes along side of a few of Sun-World’s finest employees!

Students learned about the demands of the grape industry. They saw how consumerism has changed the way in which Sun World packs its grapes – bringing it indoors. One student commented, “they are so careful to be sure that the weight of each bag is just right that they even will take out one grape!” Students noted the care and time it takes to pack one bag of grapes. Students inquired about the career opportunities and the different levels of expertise at each packing station. Students then were driven to the fields where the contrast in outdoor packing was shown. Sun-World has customers that require different packing practices. Students experienced the change in work environment for the employee and the humidity from inside the rows. They strolled in awe and were able to taste from each side of the vine sharing what they tasted, smelled, and heard. David Fenn, Executive Vice President of Farming, shared the science behind reasons a grape may taste one way on one side of the vine from the other as students noticed that one batch was less sweet. It was time now for students to learn about the different varieties of grapes.

We then moved on to the Research and Development Lab. Students participated in an activity to get to know each other and separate into groups. These three groups were on a 20 minute rotation – Research & Development, Sales & Marketing, and Quality Control.

Research and Development described the step by step breeding process and allowed students to tour and see it in action. The lab with over a thousand test tubes of possible new flavors was overwhelming. Students identified the embryo in the berry prior to the breeding process. Time to rotate! Next Up, Sales and Marketing.

Students were able to network with Sales and Marketing professionals and learn about their favorite aspects of the job. Travel is a big plus for some! Students asked about career paths and opportunities. Oh, time to rotate on to Quality Control. Students taught how to read the import requirements from different companies and measure sugar levels based upon cold storage availability. Students worked as a team to gather data and report back to staff about their findings.

We wrapped up with an inspiring message given by Sun World’s CEO/President Merrill Dibble while eating lunch together with the Sun World staff before heading home. Students were able to take some grapes home to their families as well.

Kern County FARMS Leadership Class of 2018-19 Touring Sun World International
Kern County FARMS Leadership Class of 2018-19 Touring Sun World International
Kern FARMS Leadership Student learning to use a Refractometer
Kern FARMS Leadership Student learning to use a Refractometer

FARMS Leadership Gets Nutty in Sacramento Valley

FARMS Leadership | Sacramento Valley | October 25, 2018

Locations of Field Day: Sierra Orchards and Mariani Nut Company, Winters, CA

Theme: Sustainability

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Craig McNamara, Owner and Manager of Sierra Orchards
AJ Gomez, Farmer at Sierra Orchards
Max Mariani, Production Manager at Mariani Nut Company

Summary of the Day:
This year the Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership Program kicked off our field days for the 2018-2019 school year at Sierra Orchards in Winters, CA. The day started off with breakfast and ice breakers giving the students the opportunity to meet people from other schools. Following the ice-breaker the students were given an over view of what to expect for the year within the FARMS Leadership Program. We then all caravanned over to Mariani Nut Company where Max Mariani gave us an overview of the company, a tour of the facilities, and then allowed the students to sort walnuts on the factory line. After the tour of Mariani the group headed back to Sierra Orchards where we all enjoyed lunch and discussed what we learned on the tour. Following lunch, AJ Gomez gave us an introduction to Sierra Orchards and then led the group on a tour. He drove a tractor hauling a hay trailer so that the students could see the walnut orchard and harvest up close and personal.

California Olive Ranch

FARMS Leadership| Tehama County | October 16, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Artois, CA

Field Day Host:
California Olive Ranch – Julie Vandegriff

Participating Partners:
Julie Vandegriff, Logan Jennings

Theme:
Sustainable Farming

Summary of the Day:
Did you know that 98% of all olive oil sold and produced in the USA comes out of this one little olive oil plant in Artois, CA?

With clear blue skies and a crisp cool morning the fall weather at California Olive Ranch made for the perfect kick off our 2018-19 FARMS Leadership field days! While we were anticipating olive harvest to have started, this was lesson #1 learned….agriculture doesn’t follow a calendar! However, California Olive Ranch didn’t disappoint. Students had the opportunity to explore everything from orchard to finished product and every detail in between. One benefit to harvest not starting yet, was each student got to not only sit in the driver’s seat of an OXBO harvester, but they all operated the hydraulics and got a true lesson in what a harvester operator does.

“They showed us the machine that harvests the olives and they let us ride it, it uses 100 gallons of diesel!!” -Bryan Romero Gonzales, Orland High School

We then learned all about the different olive varieties, pruning and what affects when harvest will begin. It is up to the orchard managers to decide when the olives are at optimal oil content, so harvest can begin. Once harvest begins it runs 24/7 for roughly 45 days! During this season 55,000 to 65,000 gallons of olive oil are made every day and put in stainless tanks that can hold 175,000 gallons each. Throughout the year this oil is bottled and shipped worldwide.

“I learned that technology helps facilitate olive oil production especially in large quantities!” – Itzel Favela, Red Bluff High

A day at an olive oil plant isn’t complete without learning the art and technique of olive oil tasting, right? We were able to finish up our day with the full experience of tasting olive oil like professionals. Talk about a memorable field day! I have to say we made amazing memories! Thank you California Olive Ranch from all of us with Tehama County FARMS Leadership!

FARMS Leadership Kick Off

FARMS Leadership | Monterey Santa Cruz | September 24, 2018

Location:
Hartnell College Alisal Campus – 1752 East Alisal Street, Salinas CA 93905

Industry Partners in Attendance:
Clint Cowden – Hartnell College Dean
Dennis Lane – Trical Inc.
Megan Baker – Monterey County Resource Conservation District

Theme: Welcome to FARMS Leadership 2018

Summary of the Event: 
FARMS Leadership is a competitive program requiring students to apply and interview before being selected to participate. Only a handful of students are selected from each of the participating schools in Monterey and Santa Cruz County.

Everett Alvarez HS
Gonzales HS
North Salinas HS
Soledad HS
Watsonville HS

To celebrate the students who made it into the 2018 FARMS Leadership Cohort, we have a Kick Off Party. Teachers, parents and partners are invited to meet the students and hear more about the program.

This year we started by going around the room and having everyone introduce themselves. Students shared by telling us what grade they are in, what school they attend and something that interests them. Some students confidently stood up to address the group while others sat up straight in their chairs when introducing themselves. Students demonstrated many different public speaking skills and I was impressed by their willingness to participate in front of their peers, parents, and industry professionals. Continue reading FARMS Leadership Kick Off

Shasta College Student Farm

Tehama FARMS Leadership | Shasta College | May 10, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Redding, CA

Field Day Host:
Shasta College

Participating Partners:
Trena Kimler-Richards, BJ Macfarlane, Sonia Randhawa

Theme:
College Opportunities

Summary of the Day:
Have you ever wanted to know what goes on on a college student farm? The Tehama County FARMS Leadership had the experience of a lifetime when they attended a field day on May 10, 2018 at the Shasta College Farm in Redding, CA.

The day started with an enjoyable breakfast in their lush arboretum and listening to current students who live in housing on the college farm tell about the opportunity to work on the farm to pay for their room and board, which can be a large cost. Shasta College is one of the few junior college campuses’ that has dorm living available to some students. Once everyone’s bellies were full it was time to get down and dirty by going to the horticulture department. Students were able to get some soil under their nails by planting a couple seeds in one pot and taking clippings from a mature plant, dipping it in a growth hormone to stimulate root development and plant it in a second pot. All the students love being able to do something that they get to take home at the end of the day! They also were able to learn a little about beneficial vs. harmful bugs and see first hand what a baby ladybug looks like.

After we played in the dirt a little, we went on a short tour of the Shasta College Farm which included herding goats to a new pen and seeing week old baby pigs. We ended the tour by joining a Shasta College Feeds and Nutrition Lab where we helped process 54 meat chickens that were going to the public’s dinner tables in the next couple days. It took a few minutes for the students to warm up to the idea of being hands on, but soon every student had gotten their hands wet or dirty helping. They learned the importance of food safety, bio-security, and what had gone into growing these chickens during the Feeds and Nutrition’s research projects. During lunch Sonia Randhawa from the counseling department came to talk about admissions and financial aid. It was an important part of the day and very informative for the students to learn that they can take college classes for free while in high school and there are lots of programs to help get your tuition paid for. Lastly, we ended the day out in the hay field with BJ Macfarlane the Farm Manager learning all about they science and technology that goes into growing and bailing hay. As a bonus each student had the chance to drive a skid steer if they wanted! Shasta College sure was a fun filled hands on day and I think a great way to wrap up our 17-18 year!

Superior Farms Lamb and Community Action Projects

Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership | Superior Farms | April 12, 2018

Location(s) of Field Day:
Dixon, CA

Field Day Host(s):
Superior Farms

Participating Partners:
Matt Hayes – Livestock Buyer at Superior Farms,

Andrea Perkins – Director of Food Safety at Superior Farms.

Theme:
Food Production and Consumer Science

Summary of the Day:
For our final field day of the year the Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership students had the unique opportunity to visit and tour Superior Farms lamb processing facility. Matt Hayes introduced us to the company and then we suited up in plastic boots, hair nets, hard hats, and lab coats. Matt Hayes and Andrea Perkins then gave us a tour of the entire plant beginning at packaging, then we saw the cutting processes, and toured the facility all the way to the start where the students were given the option to see the stunning and butchering processes. After our tour we met back in the break room where we had lunch and the students presented their Community Action Projects that they have been working on all year. Community Action Projects are projects that each group of students from every school work on that applies skills and knowledge attained from the FARMS program to address problems or concerns within each schools community. Our final field day concluded with an award ceremony for all of the Sac Valley FARMS students where they received a certificate of completion of year 1 of the FARMS Leadership program.

Fresno State University

Central Valley FARMS Leadership | California State University, FRESNO | 03/06/2018

Location(s) of Field Day:
California State University, Fresno

Field Day Host(s):
Michelle Perez – Counselor, Admissions and Recruitment
Dr. Avery Culbertson – Professor of Agricultural Leadership
Dr. Thompson – Professor of Dairy Curriculum & Unit/Enterprise Manager
Dr. Steven Pao – Professor and Department Chair in Food Science
Dr. Athanasios “Alex” Alexandrou – Professor of Agriculture Mechanics & Technology

Theme:
Variety of Career and College Options

Summary of the Day:
Session 1 – “True Colors in the program” Student introduced Dr. Avery Culbertson, Professor of Agriculture Leadership Student will present Thank You Dr. Culbertson will also share information about the USDA Discovery program as time permits.

Session 2 – Dairy Unit Student will introduce Dr. Kyle Thompson, Dairy Curriculum & Unit/Enterprise Manager Student will present Thank You JARC Building College and Career Questions to Professors and Students as well as Ag Ambassadors that join us for lunch. Travel to different location for next sessions

Session 3 – IT Unit – Bee Sweet Citrus Facility Student will introduce Dr. Athanasios “Alex” Alexandrou, Professor Mechanized Agriculture Student will present Thank You

Session 4 – Food Science 3 subgroups will rotate through three stations for 15 minutes each Class FFS 105, Class FFS 112, Class FFS 118; Student will introduce Dr. Steven Pao, Professor and Department Chair of Food Science and Nutrition Student will present Thank You Students will share what they learned on the different rotations and what they experienced throughout the day.

Participating Partners/Mentors:
Fresno State – Ag Leadership, Dairy Unit, Industrial Technology and Food Science

Monterey County Food Bank and Salinas Valley Recycles

FARMS Leadership | Monterey & Santa Cruz | April 12, 2018

Locations of Field Day:
Food Bank – 815 W Market St. #5, Salinas CA 93901
Sun St. Transfer Station – 139 Sun Street Salinas, CA 93901

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Monterey County Food Bank – Sandra Nunez
Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority – Estela Gutierrez

Theme:
Food Waste and Food Systems

Summary of the Day
Students started the day by learning about the Food Bank and what they do with the food they receive and how and where it’s distributed. Students asked engaging questions about who is receiving the free food and how they are ending hunger in the county. Students participated in a team building exercise by splitting up into groups and packing bags with non perishable items that are distributed to the individuals. Students had to work together to complete one bag and they did 300 bags all together. We ended our time at the Food Bank with a tour of the facility and saw how they process the perishable foods they receive from various agriculture companies like Taylor Farms and Tanimura and Antel. We left to have lunch at the Sun Street Transfer Station. We finished lunch and had a presentation on composting and food waste. Then Estela talked about the SVSWA Company and the history of waste in our county. We received a tour of the facility and witnessed how much trash comes into the transfer station to be taken to the landfill to live forever.

” I learned that the Japanese use a certain way of compost that doesn’t involve worms [Bokashi].” – Noel Diaz, North Salinas High School

Continue reading Monterey County Food Bank and Salinas Valley Recycles

Davis Senior High School at Gilmer Farm

Participating School
Davis Senior High School

Partners/Landowners
Solano Resource Conservation District

Mentors
Nick Gallegar, NCRS Rangeland Management Specialist
Beth Hellman, UC Davis graduate student
Amanda Lindell, UCD graduate student
Laura McGowan, UCD graduate student
Ha Truong, NRCS Agricultural Engineer

Our third and final field day at Gilmer farm was a huge success both for our students and our hedgerow. After arrival, our day started off with a fun game of group juggle to get everyone moving a bit and thinking about each other’s names. Once we were all familiar, we jumped right into our plant pressing activity! Students walked along Dave Gilmer’s already established hedgerow, collecting a number of different native species as well as some invasive. Upon returning to the barn, students wrote descriptions of there plants on the back of cards and get them and the plants into our plant presses. Once those are dry and mounted, students will have their own plant pressings to take home and remember SLEWS with.

After plant pressing, everyone headed out to our hedgerow to see how many of our plants survived, as well as weed around our native plants. Students were diligent to make sure they removed as many weeds as possible without damaging their plants.

Following lunch, students had a full afternoon filled with learning activities. We began the afternoon with mentor interviews, a amazing chance for students to get to know their mentors a bit more and ask them in depth questions about their chosen field and how they got to where they are today. With interviews wrapped up, students got to encounter some wildlife in the form of our current native mammal and birds nest collection. After an initial inspection, each mentor group was assigned two animals that they got to present on to the rest of the group. To wrap up the day, students did a blind taste test with different kinds of citrus, some from the store and the rest local. After comparing the different fruit, everyone did made their best guess at which fruit was which.

We would like to thank our SLEWS mentors for enhancing the students field experience, and our gracious hosts at Gilmer Farm for engaging youth from Davis High School in their habitat restoration work.

Accomplishments
Weeding entirety of the hedgerow

“It was great to interview the mentors because it taught me it is okay to not know what I want to do for a career now, I can figure it out as my interests change.”