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.