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UCCE delivers agricultural programming to Los Angeles school children

The Issue

Urbanization in Southern California has distorted the relationship between school-aged children and their food sources. Few have the opportunity to see a live farm animal, or learn about agricultural productivity and sustainability. Los Angeles County students need experiential opportunities to learn that agriculture has many components - water, plants, bees, fiber, food and dairy - that touch their everyday lives. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, agriculture affects us all. It is very important to provide future generations an understanding of agriculture’s importance.

What Has ANR Done?

L.A. County’s 4-H program representative, Dawn Fuller, participated in the year-long planning of Ag Day LA. As a result, UCCE 4-H and nutrition advisors and staff from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties had the opportunity to collaborate with the Los Angeles County Farm Bureau, Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner's office, and other community partners to deliver hands-on learning experiences for third- and fourth-grade students. Ag Day LA provided a fun and exciting way for teachers to address state educational standards and promote agricultural literacy while students learned about water conservation, healthy nutrition and sheep shearing.

The Payoff

Los Angeles elementary students learn how agriculture impacts their lives

In the third year of participation, Los Angeles and San Bernardino UCCE interacted with 220 third- and fourth-grade children from six Los Angeles schools. Students from three classrooms took tests before and after participating in Ag Day LA. Prior to attending Ag Day LA, 58 percent of the students were able to answer the question, “What is agriculture?” Following Ag Day LA, 90 percent of the students tested could define some aspect of agriculture. Before participating in the program, more than 90 percent of the youth could not name any insects that were beneficial or detrimental to agriculture, basic information about the benefits of fiber and where it comes from, what plants need in order to grow, or California’s top 10 agriculture products. After the program, more than 80 percent of participants were able to define agriculture and provide correct examples of insects, fiber, agricultural products and plant needs.

The program is designed to ignite interest among youth and teachers in agricultural learning. For many of the youth in Los Angeles who participated, this experience is just the start of learning about agriculture and how it affects their daily lives.


Supporting Unit: Los Angeles County

San Bernardino County
Cynthia Barnett, (909)387-2193, ccbarnett@ucdavis.edu; Brenda Roche, (323)260-3299, bkroche@ucdavis.edu; Ellen Sandor, (323)260-3350, elsandor@ucdavis.edu; Dawn Fuller, (323)260-3859, dafuller@ucdavis.edu