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California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

Summer Ag Institute

Photos by Lillieanne Chase, The Packer, 1990- Mark Linder, executive director of the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (left), discusses issues with participants in the Summer Ag Institute.
Christina Gonzales (left) shows sugar beets from a farm family she visited.

The Summer Ag Institute started in 1984, while Ag in the Classroom was still a program within the California Farm Bureau Federation. The five-day seminar engaged teachers in farm tours and introduced them to farmers and other industry professionals. The hands-on approach helped teachers explore the size, scope and impact of California agriculture. Teachers harvested crops like sugar beets, spent nights with farm families and discussed topics including world trade, water and transportation. The opportunity gave teachers the knowledge and resources needed to teach students about agriculture for years to come.

A few words from Martha Diechler, Borrego Springs Unified School District Superintendent and CFAITC board member:

"The Summer Ag Institute changed my professional life forever as I was immersed for one full week into the story of California agriculture. I went to the Institute with very little knowledge of the seminal role our state plays in the international world of agriculture and in feeding our nation and beyond. I was truly humbled and enlightened! I have carried those experiences and the bountiful materials from CFAITC into my career as a science teacher, principal and now superintendent. Wherever I go, my school has a garden and our students learn to appreciate the role of the California farmer. Thank you Ag in the Classroom!"

The institute was part of a continuing outreach program. Graduates kept in touch through newsletters, and attended regional meetings and annual reunions. The program was discontinued in 2005. If you are a Summer Ag Institute graduate, please give us a call or send us a note to check in: 916-561-5625