Got BEEF!

Location: Redhouse Beef Bakersfield, CA 

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Debbie Wise – Owner 

Summary of the Day:

March 3rd 2022 Kern Farms Program visited Redhouse Beef in Bakersfield CA. Students from McFarland High School, West High School and Ridgeview Highschool came together to take a tour of their day-to-day operation. Redhouse Beef has a goal to serve high quality beef straight from farm to table. Redhouse cares for their land and animals and stewards their role in our food system. Redhouse is also known for their amazing chickens and their farm fresh eggs.

We started off going into the pasture where the mobile chicken coops were at. The chickens at Redhouse have a very important role. After the cattle come through and graze pasture and eat the majority of all the grass, the chickens come in next! The chickens rotate through all the pasture once the cattle are through with it to eat bugs, control fly population and provide fertilizer. They also eat the grass too and convert it all into amazing pastured eggs!

We then did a fun little hands-on egg activity with Debbie! Everyone got into groups and got some eggs and cracked into a clear cup and we identified all the different parts of the egg. Most of us realized parts we have never seen before but now we will know and point them out! Everyone enjoyed it so much! Some had different colored yolks from dark orange to lighter orange. Darker the yolk the more mature the hen is and has more nutrients than a lighter colored one is most likely a younger hen.

We then went onto BEEF! Pretty much their whole herd is 100% born and raised by Redhouse. Most of their cattle are black angus, Charolais and some red angus. Red house is involved in all the stages in life for the cattle. They are a finishing operation where their calves come down from the mountains and are weaned and finished here for a few months to a year until they are ready to harvest.
We got to walk through their chute system and how they move and process their cattle. The students got to operate and practice moving the hydraulic chute and how it would be when working cattle. The cattle come through the chute for numerous reasons. They could be getting preg checked, vaccinated, dewormed or getting some sort of treatment. Redhouse is an amazing family owned and operated business and everyone should go check them out and try their grass-fed beef!

Tons (Literally) of Recycling!

FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin | January 21, 2022

Location of Field Day: Cal-Waste Recovery Systems – Galt, CA

Field Day Host and Mentors: Cal-Waste Recovery Systems – Leesa Klotz

Theme: Recovery Recycling, Climate Change & Healthier Communities

Our friends at Cal-Waste Recovery Systems were the ideal hosts for our first FARMS field day of the new year. We spent the day observing exactly what happens to our recycling once the truck whisks it away– and everything we saw generated lots of conversation around landfills, climate change, reducing all kinds of waste, and spreading community awareness.

As usual, we kicked off our field day with our opening circle check-in and a student leadership activity. Our leadership activity was a lively one: students lined up along a rope, each holding it with one hand. After taking note of the order of their peers, they were instructed to close their eyes (and keep them closed!) and communicate verbally to form various shapes and letters. We started out simple: a square. After our first shape, students took some time to brainstorm what worked, what didn’t, and their strategy for the next shape. Through use of their communication, listening, and creative thinking skills as well as their abilities to establish trust and remain open to all ideas, the group successfully shaped a square, a triangle, and the letter T.

Next we were joined by Cal-Waste’s Education Coordinator Leesa Klotz. After Leesa gave us an interesting and stinky history of garbage, we all suited up in our PPE and headed out to the MRF: the Material Recovery Floor. This is where all the recyclable materials picked up from Cal-Waste’s trucks are dumped, processed, sorted, and bailed. This is also where any pesky residual trash that makes its way into the recycling bin is separated to be sent to a landfill. Cal-Waste is committed to recovering every valuable resource from the waste stream to prevent as many items from being forever landfilled as possible.

The MRF was epic to say the least. A marvel of technology intricately designed and pieced together–conveyor belts, drum feeders, augers, magnets, crushers, air expansion chambers, optical sorting machines, infrared technology, and plenty of quality control personnel along the way to ensure accuracy and safety. Students were particularly enthralled with the bailer: a machine that crushes hundreds of tons of sorted recycling into massive cubes of cans, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, etc. These cubes are then sold to facilities that will transform the recycled material into new products.

After lunch, we returned to Cal-Waste’s state of the art education center for some conversations on reducing waste and food waste recycling. Students learned California has passed a new food waste law, requiring all Californians to separate their organics from the rest of their trash. Leesa informed us of some shocking food waste stats:

  1. A third of all the food produced in the US goes to waste.
  2. Food takes up more space in landfills than anything else.
  3. The US wastes more food than any other country in the world.
  4. Before the pandemic, 35 million Americans experienced food insecurity. After/during the pandemic throughout 2022, that number is expected to rise to 50 million Americans.

All this sparked some conversation: what can the students do to make a difference in their own school? Students brainstormed ideas about hosting focus groups between students and administrators, making informational posters, providing student waste ambassadors who can guide students on disposing of waste correctly, and re-working cafeteria food distribution requirements so less food goes to waste.

We finished the day out with a waste sorting activity: Leesa dumped two bags of trash/recycling on the table and asked two teams of students to sort them from the waste that would take the least amount of time to the most amount of time to decompose in a landfill. Students were shocked to learn that a paper towel can take a month to decompose all the way down to a glass bottle that can take 1,000 years (or might never decompose!).

During our closing circle, students shouted out their highlights: feeling inspired to reduce their food waste, exploring the MRF, learning about all the unexpected jobs within a recycling facility, and the morning’s leadership activity. Thanks to our partners, supporting teachers, and of course the students for making it a memorable day as always!

Fish-Fur-Feathers-FARMS

FARMS Leadership | North State | Thursday, January 13, 2022

Location of Field Day
Gorrill Ranch, Durham, CA & Larrabee Farms, Chico, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors

  • Anjanette Shadley: Assistant General Manager, Western Canal Water District
  • Doyle Carter: Operations Manager, Richvale Irrigation District
  • Donnie Stinnett: Manager, Joint Union Water Districts Board
  • Brita Lundberg: Marketing Coordinator, Lundberg Family Farms
  • Eric Larrabee: Owner, Larrabee Farms
  • Lee Heringer: PCA, M&T Ranch
  • Nicole Landon: Owner, Buzz’s Bees

Theme
Natural Resources

Summary of the Day 

Students from Las Plumas and Chico High School attended the North State FARMS Leadership Field Day hosted by Western Canal Water District on Thursday January 13th. We met at Gorrill Ranch in Durham where we were greeted by Anjanette Shadley the Assistant General Manager at Western Canal Water District. She gave the students a brief introduction into the day and introduced our guest speakers Doyle Carter the Operations Manager at Richvale Irrigation District and Donnie Stinnett the Manager of Joint Water Districts Board. These men shared with the students about their education, career pathways as well as what each did at their respective water districts. It was fascinating to hear about the amount of technology that is used currently to be able to accurately monitor the amount of water that is being used as well as where it is going was very eye opening to the students. Listening to them speak it was very apparent that they both absolutely loved their jobs and were highly recommending to the students to follow their dreams and really find a passion in their future careers.  We then had the honor of hearing from Brita Lundberg who is the Marketing Coordinator at Lundberg Family Farms. Her story was very unique and important for the students to hear because while she came from an “AG Family” who had a successful farming operation, her love and passion was for reading and literacy. It wasn’t until she graduated from college and lived in New York for several years before she realized that her passion, and love for storytelling and writing could be a big asset to her family farm. She shared about applying for a job at her family’s company at the time when they were rebranding. She was hired and is very happy to be able to help tell their family story to each and every consumer.

The second half of the day was focused on learning about the importance of managing water for the multiple beneficial uses of Food, Salmon, Communities, and Birds. We watched an educational video called Sharing Butte Creek that explained how the irrigation districts, rice farmers, and conservationists have all began working together to promote the health and growth of the salmon as well as giving the migratory waterfowl a place to rest and feed all while improving the soil health in rice fields. We had to opportunity to visit Larrabee Farms and hear from Eric Larrabee about his journey to coming back to the family farm as well as getting a first hand look at his rice fields during this time of year. Lee Heringer who is the PCA at M&T Ranch spoke to the students about his career as a PCA and what led him to choose this. The day was wrapped up sitting and listening to Nicole Landon the owner of Buzz’s Bees share about her and her husbands journey to becoming full time bee keepers and what exactly goes into raising Queen Bee’s. All in all the day was cram packed with exciting speakers who were a wealth of information as well as inspiring! We can’t thank all those who participated enough!