By Elizabeth Vaughn
Copy Editor, Valley Ag Voice
The Kern County Farm Bureau recently hosted their annual “Farm Day in the City” at the Kern County Fair Grounds. Farm Day in the City was established in 1984 and originally began with only a handful of students with the goal to teach kids the connection from farm to table. The event has now expanded to thousands of students each day, and this year was no exception with close to 60 schools in attendance. “Kern County Farm Bureau’s Farm Day in the City provides 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students throughout Kern County the opportunity to learn about where their food comes from, how it grows, and who grows it,” stated Kern County Farm Bureau Executive Director Ariana Joven. “Many students still believe their food just comes from a grocery store and we want students to leave our event with a better understanding and appreciation of where their food actually comes from.” As the kids walk through with their classmates, they’re introduced to every sector of agriculture. John Moore, President of the Kern County Farm Bureau, put it well observing that the kids get to see “the best conglomeration of what Ag is, and it’s all to their benefit.”
They experience the opportunity to walk to the various booths and learn the significance of everything from the importance of bees to what compost is and how it connects to the green bins they might see in their neighborhoods. Booths, like “Dirt Made My Lunch,” gave out samples of sliced apples and oranges while others like “Tasteful Selections” taught the magical growth a single potato can produce. The leaders at the table gave info and quizzed the enthusiastic kids. Bolthouse set up a great freebie table where the kids received some healthy snacks and juice. They learned how Bolthouse checks the water level and the awe-inspiring notion that carrots aren’t grown on trees, to which one informed kiddo replied, “I knew that!” The Kern County Department of Agriculture displayed a slide show featuring the vast array of produce that comes straight from their home county. Not only was the produce on display, but also the Mt. Vernon Compost Facility detailed the importance of mulch for a healthy environmental cycle. If they wanted, kids could touch the pieces of bark that were displayed on the table—which, who would want to miss out on holding pieces of bark?
Outside, the “mobile dairy classroom” was set up with their beautiful Jersey cow on display for the students to see where the milk and cheese on their cafeteria tray really comes from. It’s not uncommon to hear a kiddo exclaim: “You mean it doesn’t just come from the store!?” They even learned how to milk a cow using their hands (in the air) and how the milking claw helps get the milk without doing it all by hand. Also outside, a few 4-H groups displayed their animals. Amongst the pygmy goat, little piglets, and bunnies, two heifers nicknamed Little Sugar Pie and Carmella were greeting the children in each class that walked by. The knowledgeable Annyka Bryant was available to answer questions about the two almost-a-year-old heifers. She proudly spoke of her involvement in 4-H and how she received Reserved Champion over all in the 2019 Kern County Fair. She’s thankful to her mom and dad for getting her, her sister, and brother involved in such a rewarding club. This was her forth Farm Day in the City event since she began at ten years old with bunnies and goats. Over in another section, the Holland Lop, Chocolett, was very patient and docile while the excited students softly petted him. When reaching to look at Chocolett, one student shouted, “Wow! I never saw a real bunny before!”
Overall, Farm Day in the City was another success impacting thousands of kids with an unforgettable learning experience.