On October 22th California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross joined Center for Land-Based Learning (Land-Based Learning) Founder Craig McNamara, Executive Director Mary Kimball, members of the Land-Based Learning Board of Directors, staff and, most importantly, 30 youth from four Yolo and Sacramento High Schools in celebrating 20 years of the flagship program, FARMS Leadership.
The FARMS Leadership Program connects high school students to California's food system and teaches them leadership skills through a year of visits to farms, ranches and agricultural businesses. Since its inception in 1993, FARMS Leadership has graduated over 5,000 youth, many of whom have gone on to pursue careers in agriculture or environmental science.
"FARMS Leadership has made a difference in the lives of youth across the state", says Land-Based Learning's Executive Director Mary Kimball. "Over half of our graduates have pursued careers related to agriculture, the environment, and our food system. Their decision to pursue these careers stemmed, in part, from their experience in the FARMS Leadership Program."
Secretary Ross regaled the students with stories about growing up on her family's farm in Nebraska. "I remember telling my father that I would never want to go into agriculture as a profession," said Ross. She added that when she got older, she realized agriculture and food were part of everything. "Especially in California," she added.
Additionally, Will Arnold, representing California State Senator Lois Wolk, presented the Center for Land-Based Learning with a formal resolution, on behalf of the California State Senate, congratulating us on the 20th anniversary. Arnold also offered support for the next 20 years of the program!