Kern County students will get a new hands-on, green-thumb experience this fall at the Kern County Fair.
In the age of meal prep services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh that deliver produce to our doorsteps, the Kern County Farm Bureau, Grimmway Farms and the Kern County Fair teamed up to create KC's Farm, named for the fair's mascot, KC the Bull. The farm is a space where Kern County's youth can learn about what it takes to run a farm.
"I think inner-city kids will want to open up to the selection of foods after they come to Farm Day in the City," said Beatris Sanders, executive director of the Kern County Farm Bureau. "Hopefully it will diversify their menu choices."
KC's Farm broke ground on Wednesday, but will officially debut at Farm Day in the City, in early March, and at this year's fair in September. Students of Sequoyah Middle School and Wayside Elementary School will have weekly trips to KC's farm, learning hands-on about composting, gardening, pest control and agriculture as a whole.
Students will grow a variety of edible produce at KC's Farm. One sub-section of the farm has been dubbed the pizza garden, where basil, tomatoes and other classic pizza toppings will grow.
Sanders said the mission behind KC's Farm is to broaden inner-city kids' perception of where food comes from, as much of it is grown in the county.
"Food doesn't just come from the grocery store," Sanders said. "It's made from hands-on hard work and love."
A hard-working, loving labor that produces about 65 different items for the rest of the world, according to Grimmway Farms's president Jeff Huckaby. Huckaby spoke on the importance of recognizing the hard work that backs the food that populates our grocery store.
But it's also planting that seed of ambition in the next generation of agricultural workers.
Lucas Espericueta, director of the Kern County Fair, said agriculture makes up about 30 percent of jobs in the county, and there is a growing need for individuals in professions such as entomologists, agronomists and those in pest control.
"When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up you hear 'power ranger' or 'firefighter'," Espericueta said. "But I'd like to hear, 'I want to be an agronomist and feed people.'"
But if students graduating high school in the next decade don't go on to become our future agronomists, KC's Farm hopes to instill them with more knowledge and pride of Kern County's agricultural prowess.