- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
AgVenture is a field trip where third graders learn about the importance of agriculture in their county and in their daily lives. Modeled after a Monterey County program which began in 1992, AgVenture in San Joaquin County started in 2007 with 1,500 participants and has grown to over 11,000 participants. Over 4,000 students participated last Wednesday in Manteca, and two more events will take place in January (Stockton) and March (Lodi). Every third grade class in the county is sponsored to attend, and local government, non-profit, and for-profit organizations all contribute to the success of the program. See a video highlighting AgVenture here.
UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors, and other volunteers, teach students about a crop of local importance. Classes rotate through crop stations and learn about crop production and processing. My crop of choice was alfalfa. I showed students an alfalfa plant and alfalfa hay and explained how it is grown and processed. I also made the connection between alfalfa and ice cream, and that made alfalfa a very popular crop among the students! More importantly, however, I learned from this experience just how thirsty these students are for knowledge about agriculture, and that makes my time volunteered well worth it.
As mentioned, there will be two more days of AgVenture this school year, and volunteers are always welcomed. If you are in San Joaquin County and wish to volunteer your time, please contact me about getting involved. If you are not local to San Joaquin County, consider what an AgVenture program can do for students in your area.