As a result, relatively few American children grow up with personal knowledge about where their food comes from and how it is produced. As adults, however, they will be expected to make countless decisions — either through their purchasing decisions or by casting ballots — about food, food production and agricultural policy.
Educators, parents and other mentors can play an important role in preparing students to become informed consumers, and helping them understand the implications of policy decisions for the farmers and ranchers who grow their food. Many resources and programs are available to help teachers and others increase agricultural literacy among members of the next generation.
The Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula has a new program: Youth Education for Agriculture (YEA!). School tours, special events, Free First Sundays, and general tours are offered. The programs link nutrition, language arts, math, and science with Common Core Standards, and will take place in the museum galleries and new demonstration gardens. Serving preschool through eighth grade students throughout Ventura County, classes are interactive and feature hands-on learning and fun!
The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) provides lesson plans, fact sheets, publications and other materials designed to increase awareness and understanding of agriculture among California’s educators and students.
As a partner with the foundation, the Farm Bureau of Ventura County has funding available to sponsor agriculture-related student activities and field trips, to purchase ag literacy resources and to sponsor teacher attendance at the California AITC conference or other AITC events. Teachers who would like to apply for funding are invited to contact the Farm Bureau by email or by calling us at (805) 289-0155.
Classroom teachers can arrange tours and presentations for their students through SEEAG, an Ojai-based ag-education nonprofit. SEEAG’s “Journey of Our Food from Field to Fork” is a two-part program for elementary school students available to all districts in Ventura County. It consists of a 45-minute classroom presentation and an outdoor field trip to Limoneira’s ranch in Santa Paula. The program incorporates science-based content aligned with state and next-generation curriculum standards, including plant parts and functions, and discusses the top 10 crops of Ventura County, including crop history, economic impacts and nutrition. The program also provides examples of 21st century sustainable farming practices in Ventura County from three producers: Limoneira (green-waste recycling and solar energy), Houweling’s Hot House (hydroponic production and land use) and Gill’s Onions (onion-waste recycling and hydrogen fuel cells). For more information, contact SEEAG’s Executive Director Mary Maranville at (805) 901-0213 or email@example.com.
Education outreach is an important part of the HAREC mission. The Center offers both onsite and classroom-based youth development programs to foster agricultural literacy, healthy eating and sustainability. Located on an historic property in Santa Paula, HAREC gives students access to a working farm and allows them to connect with where their food is grown. For more information, contact Susana Bruzzone-Miller, education outreach coordinator, at (805) 525-9293 ×214 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HAREC offers these Youth Development Programs:
Besides educating consumers about farming, it's also important to prepare the next generation for a career in the agricultural industry. A number of organizations offer college scholarships to children of agricultural employees, or to any student planning to major in agriculture or a related field. Eligibility criteria vary, so use the following links for more information.
The following Ventura County growers welcome field trips from local schools.
Please contact the appropriate farm in advance to arrange a visit.
Everyone is eligible to join. Whether you're a farmer, rancher, business owner or simply a resident who appreciates Ventura County's delicious, locally grown food, there is a Farm Bureau membership that fits your interests and budget.