Sacramento’s new Farm-to-Fork Capital slogan may be a marketing moniker across the region. However, California farmers have long believed in providing consumers with healthy foods. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Golden State has over 75,000 farms and ranches and is a $54 billion industry that generates at least $100 billion in related economic activity. Agriculture is a big part of everyday life. Each Spring, the Department of Food and Agriculture invites Future Farmers of America (FFA) students to its “Agriculture Day at the State Capitol” to recognize the importance California plays in the agricultural industry and in our daily lives. The public was encouraged to sample California-grown products, see farm animals and learn about California’s Agricultural industries, organizations and commodities.
Elk Grove, Pleasant Grove and Sheldon high school’s agriculture academy and pathway students left the backhoes and tractors behind at the barn and went to Ag Day 2017. Students participated in various activities such as arranging and distributing floral bouquets for California lawmakers. They also met with agricultural advocacy and public policy experts to advocate and discuss the importance of agriculture education and the impact it has on the future leaders of our State. Inside, students met with Assemblymember Jim Cooper who gave them a tour of the State Capitol. Assemblymember Cooper also introduced the students to 10 other State lawmakers including the Education Committee Chairs, Senator Ben Allen and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, who shared their experience on how Agriculture Education has positively impacted their lives.
California’s Ag Day was more than a field trip for the FFA students. The State Capitol visit became a platform for civic engagement on a topic they share with lawmakers.