Ag Day’s lessons taught year-round at San Jose garden

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, seated center, joins second graders from St. Leo the Great School in San Jose for an edible garden tour.

California Ag Day, our annual celebration of food and farming, is coming up soon, scheduled for March 20 at the State Capitol. While Ag Day is a great opportunity to share our story with the State Legislature and other parts of the Capitol community, it is also a perfect time to educate our children, and we always look for ways to make sure they’re included.

Fortunately, the learning experiences aren’t limited to Ag Day. More and more schools are embracing food and farming, and they’re finding some innovative and fascinating approaches. I recently had the chance to visit a garden in San Jose, called the ELSEE Garden Laboratory, that works with local schools to teach about the environment and the benfits of raising and preparing food.

The day I was there, I was able to meet and share the experience with second graders from St. Leo the Great School. We explored ELSEE’s beautiful grassland garden and learned about native California plants that can nourish and sustain us. Then we had a delicious lunch that was harvested from the garden!

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be with children in such a natural setting. They were relaxed, happy to be outdoors, and filled with wonder and awe as they learned about their world. They are open books, ready to take in the knowledge that is offered. My compliments to the staff at ELSEE for the great work they do. It will be a pleasure to carry their mission forward as we greet the children attending Ag Day.

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