Backyard Orchard News
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Forty-two local high school students learned about agricultural career pathways and how to advocate for agriculture by participating in Partners in Agricultural Leadership, a Reedley College-administered USDA Hispanic Serving Institution grant-funded competitive agricultural leadership and education program.
Over the two-year program, Reedley College partnered with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU Fresno, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Kingsburg Administrative Committee, Reedley College Ag Backers Council, Tulare County Workforce Investment Board, USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA-ARS (Parlier), UC Davis, and UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Students worked with Reedley College mentors, attended seminars and delivered agriculture advocacy outreach to local students.
The 42 students received scholarships totaling over $73,000. Aaron Ramirez of Clovis East High School was the recipient of the $50,000 grant-funded scholarship. Aaron’s mother said that after attending the PAL seminar at UC KARE, Aaron became very enthusiastic about exploring a career in agriculture.
For his outreach project, Aaron worked with UC KARE to collect and sterilize owl pellets. He then delivered a training module that taught students in Aaron’s community about the importance of owls as well as determine what pests the owls were eating by identifying the bones in the owl pellets. Aaron plans to attend Reedley College prior to transferring to a four-year university and pursuing a career in agriculture.
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Twelve weeks really flies by! A few of us found ourselves twiddling our thumbs last Monday night - the first night in months when we didn't have an MFP class to attend. This first class graduated back on Monday, June 20th, sending 18 (!) brand new Master Food Preservers out into Los Angeles County to teach the public the essentials of safe home food preservation. Our instructor, MFP Ernest Miller wasted NO time in recruiting some volunteers for his new Pickle University at The Farmer's Kitchen in Hollywood and several of us are already partnering with local organizations and markets to fulfill our 30 volunteer hours.
But before we get into all that, first a little recap. Graduation was a fun night. We all talked about our plans, what we liked best in the class, and what we wanted more of in the future. We had a GREAT silent auction to raise money for the program. And before we were handed our diplomas, we had a little surprise for our dedicated instructor.
As classmate, and now MFP, Alexandra said, what's the point of social media except to embarrass those we love? Ernest Miller, you are awesome. And yes, we'll be teaching the next class. I only hope we're able to do as good a job as he did.
We'll be posting dates and locations of where you can find our new MFPs teaching about canning and preserving. In the meantime, if you want/need an MFP at your event, contact Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org./span>