Use Your Voice

FARMS Advanced | Monterey and Santa Cruz | October 5, 2020

Location(s) of Field Day:
Bio + Food + Tech Forum – Virtual Forum

Resource Conservation District of Monterey County
744 La Guardia St., Suite A
Salinas, Ca

Participating Schools:
Soquel High School
Gonzalez High School

Field Day Hosts and Mentors:
Corinne Takara – Artist and STEAM Coordinator with Xinamp Bio
Megan Barker – Environmental Scientist with the RCDMC
Paul Robins – Executive Director with the RCDMC

Speak – Off Judges:
Ignacio Mendoza – California Strawberry Commission
Emily Gardner – Salinas Valley Basin Ground Water Sustainability Agency
James Booth – USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
Hannah Wallace – Monterey County Ag Commissioners Office

Theme: Student Voices

Summary of the Day: 
It’s a new school year and I am so happy to have students returning for another year. This year students are in the FARMS Advanced cohort and we plan to take a closer look at different kinds of professional skills that can help them with their future careers in Agriculture, Environmental Sciences, or whatever career they choose. Many of these skills students already possess and it will be a matter of practicing them with industry professionals.

For October students will be tasked to use their voices. Young people have a very valuable and unique opinion that should be heard. Thanks to our partners this month we were able to create two opportunities for students to use their voice and share their own ideas and insights on a local and statewide level.

This month’s Hands-On Kit was provided by the Tech Interactive and Xinampa Bio, and it allowed students to participate in a Bio+ Food+ Tech experiment and forum. The goal of the experimental forum was to elevate cultural and community values while collecting youth voices to discover areas of interest in biotech, ag tech, and food systems. The feedback from youth would inform educational contexts that can better broaden trust and participation in science. The results of the forum can be found at the Bio + Food + Tech Forum. You can find samples of our student input in the picture gallery below.

Students had a second opportunity this month to use their voices in a Speak-Off Contest that was judged by our partners at the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County. Rocco Rouse, Kevin Zarate, and Jesus Gonzales all competed in the speak off which you can find below. The prompt for their speech was “How should Resource Conservation Districts serve and engage the entire community in conservation work?”. All students did a great job presenting their ideas but there could only be one winner. Jesus Gonzales won and went on to the statewide competition where he took 3rd place.

This month I talked a lot about community and how students are a representative of their families, peers, neighborhoods, and cities whether they like it or not. Their voices can be used to elevate their communities and share their stories, challenges, and ideas. Their perspective is valuable and valid and I appreciate their courage when using their voice this month.

Monkeyflower Ranch

FARMS Advanced | Monterey and Santa Cruz | April 4, 2019

Participating Schools:

Soledad High School

Location(s): Monkey Flower Farms, 1481 San Miguel Canyon Rd. Royal Oaks, CA 95076

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

Rebecca King – Owner and operator of Monkey Flower Ranch

Summary of the Day:

We started the day with a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and sheep yogurt straight off the Farm. Over brealfast, we learned about Rebecca King and what motivated her to become a farmer. The tour of the farm began promptly after and students were able to see Lambs and the machine that milks them apart from their mothers. They saw sheep, pigs, chickens, and ducks. Students were given an opportunity to milk a sheep for the first time. Rebecca King sells sheep and pigs for meat. The sheep are harvested for milk and chickens produce eggs. All the food she feeds her animals is a waste product from another industry. Pigs are feed old veggies and fruits from a partnering farm as well as spent hops and grains from an organic brewery in the area.

Monkey Flower Ranch operates as sustainably as possible by providing habitat for pollinators and wildlife with hedgerow, and also by rotating the animals between several different pastures to ensure that the land isn’t overgrazed and has time to regrow.

The largest part of the ranch operation is the cheese making and Rebecca has cleverly labeled her cheese Garden Variety Cheese. Students learn about how cheese is made and how technical the process is to ensure food safety. A quick walk through the cheese caves awaked students senses and got them ready for lunch. Students helped make lunch which was a farm fresh cobb salad complete with Garden Variety Cheese samples. After lunch, we did some planning and social media marketing activities where students had a chance to make some promotional items for the Ranch to market an upcoming Open House.

Ag Tech Summit

FARMS Advanced | Monterey and Santa Cruz | March 27, 2019

Participating Schools:

Soledad High School

Location(s): Hartnell College, 411 Central Ave, 93901

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

Hartnell College

Ag Commissioner’s Office

UC Cooperative Extension

Summary of the Day:

Students had the opportunity to attend the Ag Tech Summit at Hartnell College. This year students spent the morning listening to a series of talks about entomology and pest management happening locally.  

Asian Citrus Psyllid Regulation Update – Tim Lewis, Monterey County Agriculture Commissioner’s Office

Weed Management in Vegetable Crops Using an IPM Approach – Dr. Steven Fennimore, UC Cooperative Extension

Managing Vector Spread of Leaf Roll Virus – Larry Bettiga, UC Cooperative Extension

Over lunch, students had the opportunity to sit down with an industry professional and practice networking as a group. From there we split up into groups to practice networking at the different tabling exhibits. Students met folks from many different industries and ask questions as well as answered questions about themselves and their goals after high school.

After 45 minutes of networking we all came together to discuss the challenges they faced when networking like:

  • Not knowing what to ask as a follow-up question
  • Or asking an awkward follow-up question
  • Overcoming nerves
  • Stumbling on your words

We also covered some of the information they discovered like:

  • Internship opportunities
  • New tech startups
  • Youth programs they can sign up for
  • College programs they can do in the future

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