Over 3,900 southern San Joaquin County third graders – including several classes from Escalon Unified School District – will experience AgVenture, a county sponsored program, at the Manteca Unified District Farm in Manteca on Thursday, Nov. 5. Students representing 48 schools from Manteca, Escalon, Ripon, Tracy, Banta, Jefferson, Lammersville, and New Jerusalem School Districts attend this event.
AgVenture is a San Joaquin County sponsored program that informs and educates youth about agriculture, healthy-living, and local agricultural products. Students spend two educational and fun hours at the field day listening to four 10-minute presentations on soil and water conservation, health and nutrition, and different agricultural commodities, while also benefiting from a variety of booths and displays during the remainder of their time at the field day.
“The AgVenture program really gives kids a look at agriculture. They get to see, hear, smell, and touch ag; some for the first time,” said Krista (Anderson) McCoon, Program Coordinator for the AgVenture Program and an Escalon High School alum.
She also pointed out that “many of these students live in an urban environment, and most have never seen the true size of a tractor, touched a horse, or have experienced how a cow is milked. That will all change for these students during an AgVenture field day.”
Each class visits over 60 booths and displays hosted by county businesses and organizations. The booths feature everything from fruit and vegetables to livestock and farm machinery. Volunteers distribute nutritious, locally-produced samples such as almonds and fruit donated by local businesses.
“Improving the awareness of agriculture helps local students increase their appreciation for the agricultural industry and also encourages them to maintain healthy and active lifestyles,” observed Agricultural Commissioner, Tim Pelican.
The Manteca event requires approximately 500 volunteers who fill a variety of roles from timekeepers and orchard supervisors to presenters and people movers.
“The volunteers really make the experience a memorable one for both students and teachers,” Pelican noted.
Two other AgVenture events are scheduled at the Stockton Fairgrounds in January for central county area students and the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds in March for north county area students. Approximately 11,000 third graders participate in the AgVenture program, with support from over 1,000 volunteers for the three, one- day events. AgVenture brings together government, resource agencies, private organizations and individuals to demonstrate why the sustainability of agricultural is important in San Joaquin County and how each organization plays a role.