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Farm Education Leaders to Meet at UC Davis

November 3, 2008

Leadership issues will be highlighted as representatives of California farm learning centers gather Nov. 7-8 at UC Davis for a statewide meeting.

The program, "Farm Education Programs in California: Opportunities and Challenges," is sponsored by the campus's Agricultural Sustainability Institute. It is designed to honor and support public and private farms that offer educational opportunities to students of all ages.

The conference will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 7 at Putah Creek Lodge and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 8 at the UC Davis Student Farm in the Bowley Center.

"We are very happy to recognize the many farmers, garden programs, sustainability centers and other venues and personnel who do educational outreach," said Jane Pinckney, a program coordinator at the UC Davis Children's Garden at the Student Farm, an institute affiliate. "What these educational farms are doing is huge for the people of this state."

A panel of fellow farm educators will discuss their work, and participants will have opportunities to join in group discussions. Presentations will cover resources and information about California farm education programs, and will include an overview of other educational programs in the United States.

Participants also will tour the UC Davis Student Farm, one of the most dynamic educational farms in the state, according to Pinckney. Tours will be offered of other area farm education programs, including the Center for Land-based Learning in Winters, Loma Vista Farm and Garden in Vallejo, and Soil Born Farm in Sacramento.

"This conference will bring together, for the first time, many of the people who provide these educational opportunities for kids and their communities," said Tom Tomich, director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute. "Additionally, we want to identify and listen to mutual needs, and form partnerships so we can all become more efficient in our work. This conference is one step in doing that."

Last year, Larry Yee, former UC Cooperative Extension county director in Santa Barbara County, suggested such a conference to the UC Hansen Trust, which agreed to help support the meeting. The Campbell Soup Company also is supporting the meeting.

Registration forms are available at http://asi.ucdavis.edu/. (Click on Farm Education Programs Conference registration form in the What's New section.)

For more information, contact Pinckney at jppinckney@ucdavis.edu or call (530) 754-9480.

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