At the L.A. County Fair, The Farm is expanding to help further its mission: teach people about food production, healthy eating and sustainability.
To help bring that education to high school students, Cal Poly Pomona is once again partnering with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) to bring Field Day to the fair on Saturday, Sept. 20.
The event is a tool to introduce high school students to agriculture as well as the FFA’s Three-Circle Model of learning: contextual learning, work-based learning, and working together with student leadership organizations.
Five contests occur throughout the day: Nursery/Landscape, Floral Design, Veterinary Science, Vegetable Judging and the Greenhand Scavenger Hunt.
Agriculture Professor Kimberley Miller will facilitate the Greenhand Scavenger Hunt, which introduces first-year students to a competitive event in FFA.
“I try to find locations that are agriculturally related for the hunt, and because our industry is so diverse, it is not difficult to find exhibits,” she says. “I like to include questions about general exhibits as well because everyone is different and has different interests. Just because they are in an agriculture class in high school does not mean that this is their only interest.”
Only five universities in California have agriculture science programs, and Cal Poly Pomona is the only one in Southern California. Because of this, the FFA’s local office is within the College of Agriculture. That makes Cal Poly Pomona’s participation in Field Day a natural fit, says Miller.
“This gives students and faculty the opportunity to get to know students interested in the industry that live in the area,” she says. “Many of my students and I serve as mentors to high school agriculture programs throughout the year, and we start with this event.”
Not only do the students learn about agriculture, The Farm also introduces them to Cal Poly Pomona.
Last year, 26 high schools participated, with more than 700 FFA members involved in the contests.