On Thursday, October 20th, members of Alpha Zeta Cal Epsilon had the opportunity to take part in a California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom event, titled San Francisco Farm Day.
We left the Fresno State campus at 3:30 a.m. and arrived at our designated elementary school site by 8:30 a.m. with just a short Starbucks stop on the way! Fresno is roughly 180 miles from San Fran, so the fact that it took about 5 hours to get there gives you an insight to the beautiful traffic we were exposed to! Our school site was in the heart of San Francisco and needless to say the students were ecstatic to see a horse trailer parked in front of their schoolyard.
Our site was a private school and the principal shared with us that the students often times do not have the opportunity to leave the vicinity of the campus. She said that a majority of them walk to school and back home, sometimes to a grocery store down the street but never leave the general area. For us to bring livestock and fresh produce and share our stories as agriculturists is something that will open their eyes to a whole new world, she said.
As volunteers, we aided presenters with various livestock and commodity presentations. One of the rotations included a horse, pig, heifer and goat all available for the students to walk right up and observe. Another rotation had rabbits and chickens, and I'd say that the baby chicks made quite a hit!
On another floor, there was a room where a cattle rancher discussed her cattle operation and the aspects of the cattle industry. Another presenter explained to the students the digestive tracts in livestock. There were commodity representatives teaching students about California grown nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios. The students learned about tomatoes and how the different parts of a hamburger are produced.
As agriculture majors in college, we were quite familiar with the presentations and subjects being taught that day. However, seeing the reactions of these elementary students was an eye-opening experience. As I looked around the school campus, you could see nothing but building after building. There were no mountains, open fields and hardly any trees. These children don't have the same opportunity that we do to be exposed to farming and agriculture, and really understand the impact that it has on their everyday lives.
The San Francisco Farm Day was a rewarding experience for all of us involved. Cal Epsilon is dedicated to staying involved in our community and spreading agricultural knowledge. Ag in the classroom is a continuous activity that our chapter participates in and we are looking forward to our next event!