As a first year GEM (Orcutt Academy K-8) Charter), I had the privilege to attend the 2012 Ag in the classroom conference October 25-27 in Sacramento. The conference is a one-of-a kind gathering for inspired and engaged educators representing an incredible variety of professions and interests. It was full of presenters who believe in Ag literacy. The key-note speaker, Karen Ross, is a leading promoter and protector of agriculture and is Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She spoke on the importance of preserving our agricultural identity and our rich heritage…and that the job cannot be accomplished without dedicated educators!
There were numerous workshops to choose from and I selected, Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden. We explored resources about garden design, garden bed preparation, planting, watering systems, and planning for a year-round harvest. There were many people who had established gardens and some who were just getting started. I was able to share about the success of our School Gardens Program in detail and had a lot of interest. There were several people who met with me after the session and marveled at what we have accomplished in Santa Barbara County! I also attended a second workshop, Engage Students and Practice Common Core Standards and Nutrition by the Dairy Council of California. It focused mainly on nutrition and included a variety of free resources and practice engaging activities that make teaching nutrition easy. I will be teaching a lesson to my students soon. I had a lot of fun at a Make “n” Take session which include lots of fun Ag crafts for students.
Field trips were fantastic! I chose the West Counties Tour which took us to Syngenta Seeds, Flora Fresh, Inc, and Sterling Caviar. Ask me about the tours sometime! I recommend that GEMs take advantage of this annual conference.
What is Agriculture? FOOD, FIBER, FORESTS, FLOWERS, FUEL!