Cream of the Crop

July 2011

In this issue:
Teacher Feature - Lance Omeje
1. 25 Stories
2. Southern Conference
3. Northern Conference
4. Calling All Volunteers and Ag Enthusiasts!
5. Silver Anniversary Celebration BBQ
News - Giving food safety a fresh approach
County - Local Events

Lance Omeje

Teacher Feature - Lance Omeje
4th Grade Teacher
Yokomi Elementary School
Fresno, CA

Tell us about the "light bulb" moment when you knew that agriculture should be an integral part of educating our students.
I was born and raised on a farm and, naturally, had a good understanding about where food comes from. But when I asked my 36 students where their food comes from, I was flabbergasted by their responses. read more...

1. 25 Stories
The year 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Over the last quarter century, many remarkable individuals have contributed to the Foundation's formation, success, and have helped shape the organization into what it is today. Get to know some of these great supporters and beneficiaries of agriculture. Nine accounts are currently available on the website at, with more being published throughout the year.

2. Southern Conference - Cal Poly Pomona Campus - AGRIscapes
Sept. 24, 2011
Registration is now open! This one-day conference will provide resources and strategies for educators, education volunteers, and school administrators to integrate agriculture into K-12 curriculums. Focusing on garden-based education and nutrition, the conference will include a site tour of Cal Poly, Pomona's AGRIscapes, dynamic guest speakers and a valuable farmer panel session featuring Southern California farmers and ranchers. Rotational hands-on activities at various make 'n' take tables, innovative workshops and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities will provide an exciting framework for the promotion of agriculture in any teaching subject. The registration fee is $50.

3. Northern Conference - Daly City - Cow Palace
Oct. 19, 2011
As a prelude to the highly-anticipated San Francisco Farm Day, educators and volunteers are invited to register for a truly unique conference experience at the historic Cow Palace. With a rich legacy of livestock exposition, this landmark remains one of the last remnants of agriculture in the city. Participants will enjoy a rare glimpse into the world of livestock and rodeo, and a chance to interact with a variety of farm animals. Nutrition and school gardens will also be themes of the day's sessions, workshops and activities, and a panel discussion with Northern California farmers will represent much of our state's great diversity. The registration fee is $50.

4. Calling All Volunteers and Ag Enthusiasts! San Francisco Farm Day - San Francisco USD
Oct. 20, 2011
Gardens, goats, bees, trees and cows are just a few segments of California agriculture that will make for a diverse experience for thousands of San Francisco Unified School District students during San Francisco Farm Day on October 20 as we recreate the event where it all started for California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom twenty five years ago. The event is a joint effort between SFUSD and California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom with the goal to increase public awareness about agriculture by providing visits from farm animals, school garden demonstrations, school-wide assemblies and classroom presentations about agriculture at 10 to 25 school sites within the district. We have a great opportunity for you to volunteer. Sign up by visiting

5. Silver Anniversary Celebration BBQ, Cow Palace
Oct. 20, 2011
Following San Francisco Farm Day, sponsors, volunteers, and teachers will gather together for a celebratory Silver Anniversary BBQ at the Cow Palace from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. We hope you will consider joining us as we highlight our programs, enjoy the BBQ with raffle prizes and live and silent auctions. The ticket price is $50 and will be available for purchase in early August.

Giving food safety a fresh approach
Story by Kate Campbell

Before the sun comes up in California's Salinas Valley, four young women pull on their boots and start their pickup trucks. They head out to the valley's lush fields where dozens of different vegetable crops are grown—lettuce, onions, artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower among them—and begin their workday. read more...

Lesson Plan: Tomato Trivia
It may be summer time, but it's also a great time for learning while working outdoors or indoors, gardening or eating a salad. Work with your students to practice their math and science skills of estimating, measuring, counting, graphing and sequencing with tomatoes as the theme. This lesson meets California content standards for students in grades 1-3, and can be easily adapted for multiple grade levels.
Download (PDF, 834 KB)

Book: Imagine this... Stories Inspired by Agriculture 2010
Stories written by Guadalupe Landeros, Morgan Overholtzer, Zeb Soyffer, Nick O'Brien, Delaney Black, and Matt Wright, winners from the 2009 Imagine this... story writing contest. Featuring fun filled stories about tomatoes, water, avocados, peaches, wheat, and guard llamas. ISBN 978-0-615-44052-1

Resource: What's Growin' On? Farm to School Connections
This 16-page newspaper educates students about the many aspects of agriculture. The 9th edition focuses on the Farm to School program. It also includes specific pages on grapes, organics, condiments, and eggs. Selected activities encourage students to read their local newspaper daily. Request a free class set at

The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC) website has a new look for the celebration of CFAITC's 25th anniversary. Join in the festivities by accessing the anniversary page showing the upcoming festivities The website is full of resources and upcoming opportunities for educators and the public to help teach youth where their food comes from. The resources section includes CFAITC lesson plans, activities, and recommended teacher resources. Don't forget to check out the programs and events section for more information on the upcoming conferences, Imagine this... story writing contest, university student teacher presentations, and more.

Local Events