Center for Land-Based Learning
Land-Based Learning Founder and walnut farmer, Craig McNamara, talks to students about the recent walnut harvest during the 20th anniversary kick-off of the FARMS Leadership Program.
FARMS Leadership Program
Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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!

2013 Farm Academy Graduates
California Farm Academy
Graduates Second Class

Land-Based Learning's one-of-a-kind beginning farmer training program, California Farm Academy, graduated its second class on Sunday, October 20th.  19 new graduates were declared farmers not only by Land-Based Learning but by Senator Lois Wolk on behalf of the California State Senate too.

The California Farm Academy is currently accepting applications for the 2014 session!  Application deadline is Friday, November 8.  More information on the program is available here:

Thank you to all that joined us for graduation day! And, most importantly, congratulations new farmers!
SLEWS - Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship - engages California high school students in habitat restoration projects that enhance classroom learning, develop leadership skills and result in real positive impact for the environment.

On October 22, 27 agriculture students from Pioneer High School in Woodland visited Denverton to experience a day in Suisun Marsh. Student learning throughout the day focused on life in the Marsh, and consisted of three learning stations: Plant ID and Anatomy led by Jen Balachowski of UC Davis; Fish Sampling co-led by Matt Young and Sean Ehlman of UC Davis; and a Bird & Mammal station co-led by Jaime Ashander of UC Davis and Matt Lechmaier of the Center for Land-Based Learning.  Thank you to all of our mentors and to the students themselves for being ready to learn!

We are very thankful for the support of the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, enabling Land-Based Learning to offer the Suisun Marsh field days to Sacramento region schools.

For more information on how you can get involved in SLEWS, visit:

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The Center for Land-Based Learning is dedicated to creating the next generation of farmers and teaching California's youth about the importance of agriculture and watershed conservation.

Combining innovative hands-on experience with classroom learning, participants in Center for Land-Based Learning's programs develop leadership skills, learn sustainable agriculture practices that contribute to a healthier ecosystem, and connect to agricultural, environmental, and food system careers.

Please make a tax-deductible contribution today.  Thank you for your support.


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