FARMS Leadership Program | Central Valley South | September 25, 2018
Location of Field Day: McKellar Farms, Visalia CA
Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Rosalinda Verde
Theme: Citrus Farming and Leadership
Summary of the Day: (IVANHOE, CA)—On Tuesday, September 25th, “Farmer Bob” McKellar, 2016 Agriculturalist of the Year, turned his farm into a classroom for the day for students from the new class of the Central Valley South FARMS Leadership Program. Meeting for the first time, the class of 30 Sophomores and Juniors from El Diamante, Hanford, Lindsay, and Mt. Whitney High Schools got a new perspective about Agriculture and the citrus industry.
FARMS stands for Farming, Agriculture and Resource Management for Sustainability, which is a premier Leadership Program run by the Center for Land-Based Learning. This statewide youth program connects high school students to California’s food system and teaches them leadership skills through a year of field days on farms, ranches and agribusinesses. They get to explore college and career opportunities in agriculture, food and environmental science while helping them develop critical thinking skills through hands-on experiences. “It is so important for students to learn about the agriculture that surrounds them,” said Katie Wortman, the FARMS Leadership Coordinator for the Central Valley.
The day started out with the designation of leadership teams and students practicing the proper handshake. Students got to know each other by interviewing each other and prepared to introduce our individual speakers. Students participated in a wagon ride tour of McKellar farms which allowed the students to experience the diversity of crops and see different varieties of citrus grown in the Valley. The tour wrapped up with a short video showing what happens at the packing plant once the crop leaves the farm.
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.
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 Monterey/Santa Cruz Kick Off
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 the 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!
Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership | Superior Farms | April 12, 2018
Location(s) of Field Day:
Field Day Host(s):
Matt Hayes – Livestock Buyer at Superior Farms,
Andrea Perkins – Director of Food Safety at Superior Farms.
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.
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
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
Solano Resource Conservation District
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.
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.”