Visit Date: Monday 28th March 2016
Location: Californian Farm Bureau, Sacramento, California
The Californian Farm Bureau Federation was established in 1919 and through advocacy, outreach, and economic services, they work for the betterment of family farmers and ranchers within the state. We spent a couple of hours at their HQ in Sacramento leaning about agricultural representation and lobbying, but one of the most impressive learning outcomes was hearing about the educational role the Federation, through the Californian Foundation for Agriculture is playing across California.
For the past 13 years, the Foundation has produced an educational magazine called “What’s Growin On?” targeting 7 to 9 year olds. The magazine is informative and includes topical activities designed to engage students to connect with the world of agriculture and the important role farming plays within the state.
Agriculture doesn’t feature on the school’s curriculum in California, but the Federation has took it upon themselves to promote food and farming within the classroom by producing teacher packs consisting of lesson plans, agri based tasks and classroom material, including activities, factual information and group workshop ideas.
Since its launch, the programme has been so popular that it has been well adopted in urban based areas such as LA and San Francisco, and the Farm Bureau with the Federation are now rolling out teacher based training days to urban based primary school teachers, conferences and activity days, all with a remit to fulfil their mission of raising the awareness of ‘where food comes from’.
Narrowing the knowledge gap between the consumer and the food producer all starts in the classroom, and California seems to be making great progress. This is fantastic example of how the industry has taken it upon themselves through a non-profit organisation, which relies heavily on donations to educate the young about food and farming.