CALIFORNIA, Sonoma RCD – “FARMS Leadership taught me the impact we have on our environment and why sustainable farming is important,” stated Fernando Isol of North Bay Met Academy upon his final day in FARMS Leadership. The Sonoma Resource Conservation District’s longest standing youth education program of over twenty years, FARMS (Farming, Agriculture, and Resource Management for Sustainability) Leadership provides innovative, hands-on experiences to urban, suburban and rural youth at working farms, agri- businesses and universities. A state-wide program facilitated by the Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL), our graduates join approximately 300 other students in California that complete the program annually.
Over the course of the academic year, the students directly engage with Sonoma County’s local agricultural producers and stewards of the environment in a series of on-farm field day experiences. Participants develop leadership skills and learn about agricultural practices that contribute to a healthier ecosystem, while connecting them to where their food comes from. The impact on the students is long lasting, some alumni seeking jobs within agriculture and conservation while others gain knowledge of our local food systems, importance of our working landscape as a tool for natural resource conservation, and feel more confident to engage in community service.