Getting Local Students on the Farm –
In partnership with Raley’s program: Where Your Food Grows and Grazes
In the Fall of 2016 Central Valley Farmland Trust (CVFT) partnered with Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Lodi Unified School District, Ag in the Classroom and local farm Steamboat Acres to get school children on the land to experience a working farm and learn where their food comes from.
To support CVFT’s land conservation efforts, they are working with innovative programs – such as the Raley’s Where Your Food Grows and Graze – to educate our local youth about farming and local food. This most recent partnership effort included four separate tours to Steamboat Acres with fourth and fifth graders from Lodi Unified School District, serving 120 students.
Thanks to the farm owners, students learned about growing seasons, harvest and seasonal eating on the farm itself. To conclude the experience, students were treated to lunch at the Raley’s store in an effort to show them the process from the farm to the grocery store. While the students ate, the Raley’s representative quizzed them on what they had learned on the farm and shared the different ways food can be packaged, using examples of foods the children saw growing at Steamboat Acres. For example, they had a fresh pear, canned pears, dried pears and pear baby food. Raley’s provided pumpkins and seedlings to take home for each student.
“As a local grocer, Raley’s wants to connect our youth with where their fresh and healthy food comes from,” said Becca Whitman, Raley’s Manager of Community Relations. “Children who participate in the Where Your Food Grows and Grazes program with Central Valley Farmland Trust have an enriched understanding of the food system and are more likely to create healthy eating habits long-term.”
Through this ongoing program CVFT will continue to work with Raley’s and Steamboat Acres to bring more students closer to the land that supports a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, this experience connects students with the men and women who work diligently to ensure a safe, wholesome product is available in local grocery stores.
“Students are so inquisitive about how we grow food the food they eat. It’s a real pleasure to share that information with them,” said fifth generation farmer and owner of Steamboat Acres farm, Tim Neuharth. “We love our farming way of life, but we share it with others mainly to try to bridge the information gap with the general public’s awareness about where their food comes from. It comes from farms and ranches that are tended by hard working people.”
CVFT is so proud to partner with such incredible organizations and farmers to help ensure our future generations know where their food comes from. An unexpected benefit from these tours was the impact on teachers. CVFT was excited to hear from the classroom teachers who brought their students to the farm.
“The farm-to-fork field trip to Steamboat Acres and Raley’s was one of the most memorable experiences of my teaching career,” said Brooke Shamhart, a teacher at Lois E. Borchardt Elementary. “The students were able to make comparisons between fresh, frozen and canned foods and determine which options are healthiest. The staff at both locations (Steamboat Acres and Raley’s store) were knowledgeable and the experience gave students insight into the value of the farm-to-fork movement in the Sacramento Valley.”
To see the pictures from these tours please visit our Facebook page. To learn more about Steamboat Acres visit steamboatacres.com. If you are a farm owner and are interested in participating in our school tour program, please call Susan in our office (916) 687-3178.