MANTECA (CBS13) – A Manteca school district is teaching the importance of agriculture by creating a 60 acre farm for students to work on.
“It’s all farm fresh and goes straight to you,” junior Janika Gomes said.
From the farm right to their lunch, high school students in the Manteca Unified School District can earn money working on the farm.
“There’s very few school districts that have a farm,” said Bryan Ehrenholm, executive chef of nutrition education.
With 60 acres, a culinary class creates different recipes using the fresh produce grown right behind their classroom.
“We harvest almost 20,000 pounds of fresh produce a year,” Ehrenholm said.
Students are running everything – from planting to picking, and even utilizing different resources.
“From the farm animals to we just started raising bees, so the honey will go right into the school system,” Ehrenholm said.
FFA students like Gomes work on the farm for two to three hours after school.
“You learn a lot of responsibility and time management,” Gomes said.
And it’s helping her focus on her career goals.
“I want to become a large animal vet, so it will help me be ahead already of what I’m doing,” Gomes said.
Even first graders are learning about the farm, starting them early so maybe they’ll make healthier choices.
“It shows them from the beginning where their food comes from,” Ehrenholm said.
The school district is hoping the farm will start making money for the school in the next couple of years. That money will be used to continue growing the programs.