Carrie Lawson Robertson
Carrie Lawson Robertson hiking in Utah. (Photo: Robertson Family)

Press Release Provided by California Farm Bureau Federation

A middle school teacher in Los Angeles who introduces urban students to farming and ranching experiences has been honored with the “Outstanding Educator Award” presented by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.

Carrie Lawson Robertson received the award at the 104th California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Monterey.

Robertson teaches students about agriculture at a 2-acre farm at Paul Revere Charter Middle School. On the property that backs up to the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles’ bustling Sunset Boulevard, she directs a “land lab” that includes a traditional classroom along with a vineyard, orchard, raised farm beds, native gardens, and a hiking trail.

The students produce grapes, stone fruit, alfalfa, pumpkins, kales, tomatoes, artichokes, and herbs. They also look after a pot belly pig named Daisy as well as several goats, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits, and chinchillas. The immersive agricultural experience allows kids from the city to connect with the food they eat and learn about farming and the natural environment.

“Carrie is a true advocate for agricultural education,” said Judy Culbertson, executive director of the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. “Her dedication and creativity in her classroom on Sunset Boulevard have made a positive, lifelong impact on her students, and the enthusiasm she has for incorporating agriculture into the classroom is undeniable. Carrie understands the critical importance of agriculture and she works to instill this appreciation in her students.”

Robertson’s father and grandfather were cattle ranchers on the outskirts of Los Angeles. She said her experiences in straddling two worlds—agriculture and urban life—inspired her teaching philosophy of helping students find a personal connection to food, land, and agriculture. She also helps them understand production agriculture and the high-tech world of modern farming.

“Agriculture is life,” Robertson said. “All human beings are dependent on agriculture for food, clothing, and shelter, but also for employment, innovation, communities and to solve issues around climate change. The outdoor, experiential nature of agricultural education provides so many positive benefits to students, including social skills, sensory input, and stress relief. I find that my students have a deep loyalty to our program, our farm animals, and the special places at our farm like the hiking trail and vineyard.”

The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 29,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of 5.3 million Farm Bureau members.

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