The Colusa County Farm Bureau provides plenty of resources for teachers to help them improve their students’ knowledge of local agriculture, but Monday they got their hands dirty – and so did a few dozen kindergartners.
Melodie Johnson, Farm Bureau manager, and Mindy Lederer, a former Colusa Unified School District teacher and Farm Bureau volunteer, helped about 40 Burchfield Primary School students plant a small vegetable and flower garden in a swimming pool just outside their classrooms.
The students will tend the garden as summer school progresses the next few weeks, and they will see edible results when they return to school in August.
“This is amazing,” said kindergarten teacher Cristina Rodriguez. “It’s really a hands-on project.”
The Colusa Farm Bureau has been teaching youth about the basics of agriculture for about 10 years.
“We want then to understand how important agriculture is to our community, to them, and to their families,” Johnson said.
Each child got to dig in the dirt and plant things like peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and melon, along with flowers and lemon balm.
The activity is designed to help small children understand what it is that farmers do, although many already knew.
“They grow food,” said 6-year-old Santiago Lopez, whose father works in the agriculture industry.
“Knowing about agriculture is very important,” Lederer said. “Farmers really do feed the world.”
Lederer, whose first-grade class a decade ago was the first in Colusa Unified School District to participate in the garden project, said she wanted the students to come away from the activity with a better understanding of where the food they eat comes from.
The Colusa County Farm Bureau provides everything needed for the activity, including curriculum that aligns with state educational standards.
Johnson said Farm Bureau volunteers plan to return to the school to talk to the students about the garden, as it grows, as well as read books about farming and agriculture.
“We do whatever we can to help the teachers continue their agriculture education in their classrooms,” Johnson said. ■