Specially trained and dedicated volunteers work alongside staff to deliver fun and hands-on agricultural based lessons. For many Kindergarteners, this is their first time on a farm. Getting a glimpse of where food comes from, planting seeds and learning what makes them grow are unforgettable experiences. Older students delve deeper into plant growth and development, discover the important role pollinators play in our food system, and learn about the agricultural county where we live.
Picking and sampling farm fresh vegetables such as beets, carrots, sugar snap peas, and lettuce are favorite activities with all ages and a great way to introduce MyPlate, the newest USDA guide to healthy eating choices, and encourage daily physical activity. What can be better than getting your hands dirty, smelling the rich Santa Paula soil, and eating vegetables you helped harvest? Children aren’t the only visitors. Over 300 parents and teachers will visit, learn, and munch alongside youth.
The cost of buses makes a trip to the farm prohibitive for many schools. When visiting the farm is not an option, lessons delivered in the classroom bring the farm to life. The 4-H Classroom Outreach Program is an opportunity to learn about agriculture without leaving the school grounds.
Yes, it’s a busy and exciting time. Happy spring!
Maintaining a strong food supply was an integral part of homefront support efforts where victory garden campaigns were not only important in creating food for home use and supplying to troops, but also as a patriotic booster for those at home who wanted to do their part.
Rose Hayden-Smith, Ventura County Cooperative Extension's community and youth development advisor, spoke at the exhibit on January 26 on "Digging for Victory: How America's Gardeners Helped the War Effort." Rose is a historian with an active and passionate interest in victory gardens, their place in history and their relevance to maintaining a healthy and abundant food supply for the present and the future. You can learn more about this at her Victory Grower website.
Check out this historic exhibit so relevant to our county which has some of the most versatile agricultural land in the state.
Dates of exhibit: Now through March 27, 2013
Museum of Ventura County
926 Railroad Ave.
Santa Paula, CA 93060
Please see the museum website for hours and admission costs.
Ventura Master Gardeners are offering this series of workshops at locations throughout the county and are available to the public at no cost.
For a flyer with dates and locations, click here.
To register, click here.
Rose leads a statewide initiative for sustainable food systems and has a passionate interest in promoting community and victory gardens. It is no surprise that she won a Twitter contest prize invitation to the tour by expressing within the website's 140 character limit format why she wanted to visit the White House garden.
This was Rose's second visit to the White House gardens. After the tour, the group spent several hours with White House staff learning more about the administration's food and health initiatives. The stay included touring urban garden projects in Washington D.C. with UC ANR advisor Rachel Surls from the UC Los Angeles extension office.
The social is a part of the Fall Garden Tours in October where invitees and members of the public can view the kitchen garden, Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and South Lawn of the White House.
The $101 million in grant money will be apportioned to promote two areas:
- $55 million in specialty crop block grants to state that fund 748 initiatives to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers.
- $46 million to support new and continuing research and extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for growers and businesses that rely on a sustainable, profitable specialty crops industry.
Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, floriculture and nursery crops.
The key research areas for funding are:
- Improving crop charactistics through plant breeding, genetics and genomics
- Addressing threats from pests and diseases
- Improving production efficiency, productivity and profitabilitiy
- Developing new innovations and technologies
- Developing methods to improve food safety
These grants reflect the continuing efforts by the USDA to stimulate agriculture and food based economic development. UC extension in turn provides the research, outreach and expertise to local and potential growers seeking specialty niches in agriculture.
Find out more about this grant program and read the USDA news release in its entirety here.