Urban Agriculture in Stockton, California

FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin | October 30, 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.

Integrated Pest Management at Cassin Ranch

FARMS Advanced | Monterey and Santa Cruz | October 28, 2019

School(s) Participating: Soledad High School

Location(s) of Field Day:

Cassin Ranch, 151 Silliman Rd. Watsonville, Ca. 95076

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

Driscoll’s

  • Cristal Verduzco – Sr. Forecasting Manager Berries & FARMS Alumni
  • John Siletto – Main Speaker
  • Diego Nieto – Staff Scientist in Entomology
  • Micheal Moore – Director of Quality Operations
  • Fred Cook – Plant Pathology Research and Development
  • Gavin Sills – Breeding
  • Jenny Broome – Sr. Research Manager Global Plant Health
  • Ahna Miller – GIS Planning Analyst
  • Miranda Ganci – Plant Pathology Research Associate
  • Kelly Ivors – Plant Pathology
  • Kyle Rak – Plant Breeding

ParaBug

  • Chandler Bennett – Owner and Founder
  • Kevin Hill – ParaBug Pilot

Summary of the Day

The day begins with a waffle breakfast with lots of beautiful Driscoll’s berries at Cassin Ranch. Students participate in a quick icebreaker and I introduce our host and FARMS Alumni Cristal Verduzco who is the Senior Raspberry Forecaster for Driscoll’s. We do an activity with students to gauge what their understanding of Integrated Pest Management is. Student’s ideas were surprisingly really close.

“I believe that Integrated Pest Management is when you create an artificial ecosystem to eliminate any unwanted item in the plant without the use of pesticides.” – Aaron Arriago

Dr. Kelly Ivors who is very knowledgeable in IPM helped us learn more. Aaron was surprised to discover that integrated pest management still uses pesticides but does so as a last resort. Dr. Ivors also introduced the term P.C.A. or pest control advisor which plays a huge role in pest management because they offer growers advice on the pests they find and recommend the best ways to eliminate the pests. The discussion led to a talk about student’s plans after high school. Both Cristal and Dr. Ivors share their stories and offered some sound advice to students. It was a very casual and informative discussion.

John Silleto came by and talked to students about Driscoll’s as a company and touch on the values and the history of Driscoll’s. John was very open about some of the challenges they face as an international organization and encouraged students to go to college so they can help with some of those challenges. FARMS Advanced students asked questions and were very professional during the presentation.

From there we went into the labs with Diego Nieto to see pests and dissect bugs to see if they had parasites in them. It was very shocking to see a bug ripped apart on a magnified screen. It was a first for all of us.  After mutilating bugs we stepped outside with Kyle Rak to learn about his work in the raspberry test fields. In the background, Kevin Hill and Chandler Bennet prepped their ParaBug Drone for a demonstration.

In integrated pest management, one step to fighting pests is biological control and Chandler created a business that focusses on biological control by spreading predatory insects to fight crop-damaging pests. Students helped load the chamber with bugs and Kevin marked out a flight path and sent the drone to work. Meanwhile, students learned about how ParaBug started and asked many questions about what he does as a business owner and operator. It is hard to believe but we still had time to squeeze in one more activity before lunch.

We headed back to the lab, this time the plant pathology lab with Dr. Ivors and Miranda Ganci. Students put on their lab coats and helped investigate and diagnose a sick raspberry plant. The smashed pieces of the plant to a pulp so they could test for a specific phytophthora enzyme. The hands-on experience and support from professionals in the lab made students consider plant pathology as a potential career path.

Back at the conference room, Cristal Verduzco had lunch and a panel of Driscoll’s employees waiting to share their career pathways and open up about life challenges and successes. Students shared their plans for the future and panelist were very impressed by their public speaking skills, confidence, and professionalism to slow things down we took a trip to the lawn to take some group photos with employees and students. Then it was back inside for a discussion on GIS or geographic information systems with Ahna Miller. Ahna’s career pathway was interesting to hear and her sense of humor and fun energy captured students attention.

“ My favorite activity was the labs. I am really interested in Dr. Ivor’s career. I [also] learned more about how drones are used in Ag.” – Diana Mendoza

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.

Terminus Dam

Title:  Food grows where water flows

Program: FARMS Leadership

Region: Central Valley Central

Field Date: October 23, 2018

Location of Field Day:  Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:  Shane Smith, KDWCD

Theme:  Importance of Water in Agriculture

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, the Central Valley Central FARMS Leadership students from Patino High School and Sunnyside High School of Fresno Unified School District met for the first time of the 2018-2019 school year at the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District.  Shane Smith, Project-Administrative Manager with the KDWCD met with the students at the home office. We then caravaned to the US Army Corps of Engineer office at the Dam. While here Mr. Smith led a presentation about the Kaweah Delta Water Operations, What the district does, Groundwater Recharge, Stormwater Layoff and storage facilities.  He also explained the importance of irrigation and Fuseaes known as Tipping Buckets and Flood Control Activities. Students were able to walk down and see the 6 – 1 million pound tipping buckets up close. After lunch students spent time in leadership activities. They learned how to properly shake hands and learned how to successfully introduce another student to the group.  Students did a great job and we all enjoyed our visit to the Dam! Giovanni Chavarria, a student from Patino high school said, “This was one of my favorite trips because I learned how dams work. Also, this was the first field trip I had EVER been on and I enjoyed every moment.  I learned how to correctly shake hands and how to introduce someone in a professionally.”

What Do I Want to Be? How Do I Get There?

FARMS Leadership | Kern County | October 16, 2018

Bakersfield College
1801 Panorama Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93305

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kern County Farm Bureau
Bakersfield College Staff
Heather Baltis

Theme:
Career and Career Path Exploration

Summary of the Day:
Often times, students have an opinion about attending Junior Colleges. There is sadly a stigma that we as educators fight on a regular basis about attending anything other than a 4-year college path. Today, I fought to blast this stigma with our visit to the nationally known Bakersfield College Ag Department.

Students from Frontier High School, Independence High School, Ridgeview High School, Bakersfield Christian High School, and West High School were amazed at the professionalism and opportunities available to them at Bakersfield College.

This day was not your average College Visit. Bakersfield College partners with industry to bring professionals who are making a living with these degrees. This tangible approach allows for students to ask questions, network with local industry, and really imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes. Industry professionals share their journey giving insight into how they got to their current position.

Bakersfield College provided lunch and a time for students to meet with different colleges and possible employers. Our students passed out business cards to those employers where they were interested in connecting on a deeper level.

It was a great day! Thank you, Bakersfield College!

Alyssa Jones, FARMS Leadership student, shares her experience with the Vet Technician Program

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!

I.P.M. 101

FARMS Advanced: Kern County: October 16, 2018

Kern County Cooperative Extension

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Dr. Brian Marsh, County Director UCCE Kern County/Agronomy Advisor
David Haviland, Entomology and IPM Adviser, UCCE Kern County
Dr. Mohammed Yaghmour, Area Orchard Systems Advisor, UUCE Kern County
Julie Finzel, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, UCCE Kern County

Theme: Introduction to Integrated Pest Management

Summary of the Day:

We are so excited to kick off our FARMS Advanced program where we are studying Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.). We have a total of 7 students from the following high schools Bakersfield Christian High School, Frontier High School, Independence High School, and Ridgeview High School. For our first Field Day, we visited the Kern County Cooperative Extension.

The services that our local Cooperative Extension provides are vast! Students toured and learned from our local advisors about the history of the Cooperative Extension providing insight into the services they provide and why – the foundation in which the Cooperative Extension was created. We then jumped right into Integrated Pest Management – our FARMS Advanced area of study for this school year.

What is Integrated Pest Management? The Cooperative Extension provided students with the ability to dig in to many aspects of Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M). Entomologist, David Haviland walked students through an interactive brainstorming session asking students to share different ways they manage pests at home. Through a hands on activity on identifying pest and beneficial pests, students soon realized that they have been using Integrated Pest Management for years and didn’t even know it. Students were able to spend time in the lab at the Cooperative Extension searching for Naval Orange Worm, a particularly pest worm that invades almonds and oranges. The day was packed with information like Safety of Pesticide Use, Plant Pathology, Biological Controls of Crop Pests, Regulation, Controlling Weeds and Invasive Plants, and finally a Case Study to bring it all together.

Students search for Naval Orange Worm

Dr. Haviland Teaching About Naval Orange Worm

Kern Advanced Students Study IPM

IPM and Citrus

IPM and Citrus

Program: Central Valley FARMS Advanced

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, October 11th

Location of Field Day:  Lindcove Research & Extension Center

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell Ph.D.

Theme: IPM and Citrus

Summary of the Day: On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Central Valley FARMS Advanced Group met for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year.  The students worked with Dr. Grafton-Cardwell, as she explained red scale. The students received a hands-on experienced looking at red scale under the microscopes.  With the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing expected to arrive in the near future in urban areas of California through a small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, educating the public not to move plant material and watching for pests and diseases is critical.  Students then were able to get more hands-on experience in the local citrus orchard used by the Center for education. Students found the infected fruit on the trees from what they learned in the morning session. What a great first field day for all! The students are excited to learn more this year about IPM in the Central Valley.



Program: FARMS Advanced

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, October 11th

Location of Field Day:  Lindcove Research & Extension Center

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell Ph.D.

Theme: IPM and Citrus

Summary of the Day: On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Central Valley FARMS Advanced Group met for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year.  The students worked with Dr. Grafton-Cardwell, as she explained red scale. The students received a hands-on experienced looking at red scale under the microscopes.  With the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing expected to arrive in the near future in urban areas of California through a small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, educating the public not to move plant material and watching for pests and diseases is critical.  Students then were able to get more hands-on experience in the local citrus orchard used by the Center for education. Students found the infected fruit on the trees from what they learned in the morning session. What a great first field day for all! The students are excited to learn more this year about IPM in the Central Valley.

ALBA – Agriculture Land-Based Training Association

FARMS Leadership | Monterey and Santa Cruz | October 11, 2018

Participating Schools:
Everett Alverez High School
Gonzales High School
Soledad High School
Watsonville High School

Location(s) of Field Day:
ALBA Campus 1700 Old Stage Road, Salinas Ca

Field Day Hosts and Mentors:
Nathan Harkleroad, ALBA Education Program Director
Patty Howe, ALBA Administrative Director
Samantha Tuttle, ALBA Student Intern
Juana Hernandez, ALBA Administrative Assistant
Leo Sanchez and Rebecca Hernandez, Lazy Millennial Farms, Owners
Rudy Jimenez, Green Thumb Organics, Owner
Victor Cortez, La Granjita Farms, Owner

Summary of the Day:

Our Monterey and Santa Cruz FARMS Leadership Program kicked off their first field day with a visit to the ALBA, Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, Campus. After breakfast, we had an icebreaker activity – a name game allowing students to get to know each other and to help us all remember names. The students collected program goodies and supplies. Then, we had an open discussion about the organic industry. We talked about what we knew about organic produce and production. We also explored the areas we had questions about and made a note to ask them along the way.

Here are some of the questions students had:

“How much is [farm] land and why is it so expensive?” – Randy Huynh, NSH

“What are the downsides [with organics]?” – Hailey Higgins, SHS

“Why is organic food more expensive?” – Sonia Vargas, GHS

“What’s the process to becoming an organic farmer?” – WHS

In our discussion, we also talked about how ALBA was a non-profit organization with a mission.


ALBA’s mission is to create economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education in the heart of the Salinas Valley. 

Continue reading ALBA – Agriculture Land-Based Training Association

All about Cotton!!

FARMS Leadership| Central Valley | October 9, 2018

Participating Schools
El Diamante High School, Visalia; Mt. Whitney High School, Visalia; Lindsay High School, Lindsay; and Hanford High School, Hanford.

Location
Tulare & Visalia, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors
Farm Credit West, Tulare; Cardoza Farming Company; Mid-Valley Cotton Growers, Inc. and USDA Cotton Program Classing Office, Visalia

Summary of the Day
On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the Central Valley South FARMS Leadership Program students enjoyed a fun-filled,  field day learning about the Cotton Industry. The students who consist of Lindsay High School, Hanford High School, El Diamante High School, and Mt. Whitney High School, started off at 9am meeting at Farm Credit West in Tulare. We were welcomed by Jonathan Kennedy, Senior Vice President.  Here students covered a few leadership activities such as practicing, how to properly introduce a host and thanking them for their time and sharing their knowledge with our students.

Next, the group caravanned to our field located south-west of Tulare where Cardoza Company was harvesting a cotton field.  Here, Curtis Lafler, a student from Hanford High School introduced Mr. David Cardoza, President of Cardoza Company. Mr. Cardoza talked with the group about the growing, maintenance and harvesting of cotton. Next, the group headed to Mid-Valley Cotton Growers, Inc., in Tulare, where we were welcomed by Stan Creelman.  Stan showed us the entire process from unloading the truck to accepting the cotton. It takes approximately 2 minutes of travel time to where the seed is removed and the cotton is put into bales ready to be shipped overseas where it is typically made into clothing.

One student said they learned how cotton farming is a sustainable practice, “I learned about how everything is recycled and reused, so nothing goes to waste”. Another student learned, “the fiber on the cotton seeds helps the cows digestion.” This fact refers to the nutrition component that we cover in the program. Finally, we traveled to the USDA Classing Office in Visalia, CA where we enjoyed a quick lunch provided by FARMS. Finally, we spoke to Greg Townsend, the Area Director of the USDA Classing Office. The students learned the process of how the machines now classify and grade the cotton.  We learned that this process used to be done completely by people and the last part of grading still is. We definitely enjoyed our day and thanks to all of our partners for the day; Farm Credit West, Cardoza Company, Mid-Valley Cotton Growers Association Inc., and the USDA Cotton Program Classing Office in Visalia, CA.