North Hollywood High School Ag Students Keep Tradition Alive and Will Make Future Bright

Source: Karen Ross, California Agriculture Secretary

Many decades ago, now-urban Los Angeles County was agrarian. In fact, it was once the largest Ag county in California. In that more pastoral time, North Hollywood High School had a 100-acre farm.

Since then, it has seen its footprint shrink to eight acres and is now surrounded by apartment buildings and other developments. However, that smaller plot of land is still very productive! I had a chance to see it for myself recently.

Ag students at North Hollywood High, including FFA members, work hard to maintain a farm that serves the community – including a flourishing community garden. The students raise money for the farm, themselves, without funding assistance from the school district.

When I visited, they had just completed their annual petting zoo fundraiser, which is widely supported by the community.  It was a special treat to see twins born earlier that morning to a pygmy goat!

As usual, I was impressed by the poised, confident, articulate students who are proud representatives of FFA.  I love spending time with them because they represent the promise of a future bright with possibilities.

Whether they go on to have careers in agriculture or not, they certainly will be better citizens and well informed consumers, which make for healthier communities!

There is no doubt in my mind that that North Hollywood FFA officers, Nicholas, Thomas, Jocelyn, Casey, Josh and Letitia have benefited from their FFA experience. Our future is in good hands with young people like them.

PASSING THE HOE: Farmer Training

Beginning Farmer-Training Program Accepting 2014 Students

 

The Center for Land-Based Learningdedicated to creating the next generation of farmers and teaching California’s youth about the importance of agriculture and watershed conservation, is getting ready for it’s third California Farm Academy class beginning in February 2014. The Farm Academy still has a few spots available.

 
The California Farm Academy, a one-of-a-kind beginning farmer-training program, was established to inspire and motivate people of all ages, especially youth, to promote a healthy interplay between agriculture, nature and society through their own actions and as leaders in their communities.

Admission requirements include:

  • A strong desire to become a specialty crop farmer
  • A commitment to participate in 7-10 hours of training per week, and
  • Transportation to attend classes near Winters, CA and at other nearby locations.
  • Some previous experience with farming is preferred. Classes and activities are conducted in English.

 

The program provides approximately 270 contact hours from Feb. 11th to Sep. 13th, 2014, including classes, hands-on experience, one-on-one consultations, farm visits and field trips. Printed curriculum materials are provided, as are the necessary machinery, tools and supplies for the activities. Partial tuition assistance may be available for admitted applicants who demonstrate financial need.
 
Another CLBL program, FARMS (Farming, Agriculture, and Resource Management for Sustainability) Leadership Program, provides innovative, hands-on experiences to urban, suburban and rural youth at working farms, agri-businesses and universities. Participants develop leadership skills and learn about agriculture practices that contribute to a healthier ecosystem, and connect to agricultural, environmental, and food system careers.
 
CLBL envisions a world where there is meaningful appreciation and respect for our natural environment and for the land that produces our food and sustains our quality of life. CLBL Founder, Craig McNamara was awarded the 2012 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. He is also President, California State Board of Food and Agriculture.