FARMS Leadership Program
Why FARMS is Needed
October 23, 2014 - Interview with Christine McMorrow, FARMS Leadership Director [MP3]
Where does our food come from? What is a watershed? What happens when we pave farmland? Why are wetlands important?
Very few high school students can answer these questions, yet, within a few short years, they will be working and voting citizens where the answers to these questions will have a huge impact on the economy, the environment and communities statewide.
Walnut farmers Craig and Julie McNamara founded the Farming, Agriculture and Resource Management for Sustainability (FARMS) Leadership Program in 1993 out of concern for what they believed was the disconnect between people, their food supply and the land. They saw that youth were increasingly lacking connections to the outdoors as well as an understanding of where their food comes from and how it's grown. They also recognized that high-school students need hands-on experiences in real-life situations to compliment their academic achievement, and that these experiences were becoming less and less available.
Twenty years later, FARMS Leadership remains a relevant and important program for youth, exposing them to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers in agriculture and environmental science and teaching them the 21st Century Skills necessary for opportunity in competitive work environments. FARMS Leadership students are introduced to the resources and networks that are critical to their decision-making processes and their futures.
The FARMS Leadership Program model supports a key element of the Common Core State Standards, College and Career Readiness. Students learn skills needed in the 21st Century workplace: Communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, life and career skills. Monthly field days provide opportunities for students to learn and use these skills in authentic workplace settings and on projects of their choosing. By the end of the program year, they better understand the variety of jobs in the field of food and agriculture and the college path required for those jobs.
More Reasons Why FARMS Leadership is Needed
- The average age of the American Farmer is 58. New farmers, scientists and business leaders are needed to feed a growing population.
- By 2050 it is estimated that world population numbers could reach 10.9 Billion; some experts predict this will require 70 percent more food production by 2050.
- FARMS Leadership reaches students with diverse backgrounds in urban and sub-urban communities, providing them with an opportunity to learn about California's food system and its connection to our environment and economy.