SANTA ROSA, Calif. (June 2, 2014) – Inspired by Saralee McClelland Kunde’s lifelong passion for agricultural education for area youth, the Sonoma County Winegrowers and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau have established “Saralee’s Sonoma County Ag Camp” designed to help the region’s leading agricultural teachers incorporate sustainable agricultural education into their classroom curriculum to benefit the next generation of farmers.
Saralee McClelland Kunde was a strong, dedicated advocate for Sonoma County agriculture and worked tirelessly promoting and preserving the region’s farming and ranching heritage. During her life, she helped shape the Sonoma County Harvest Fair; inspired local youth to get involved in 4-H and the Future Farmers of America; and was relentless in educating the public on the importance of a strong agricultural industry in Sonoma County.
“It’s crucial that we carry on Saralee’s legacy of agricultural education by inspiring the next generation to take over the vineyards, farms and ranches that drive Sonoma County’s economy and define our way-of-life. Saralee was all about building the generational bridges that are essential for agriculture to thrive and prosper,” says Tim Tesconi, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.
Saralee’s Sonoma County Ag Camp will provide valuable resources, educational tools and relevant information about agriculture and sustainable farming practices in Sonoma County to help teachers improve curriculum in the classroom for high school-aged students as well as provide agricultural “mentors” to continue the dialogue following Ag Camp. Participating teachers will be fully immersed into the daily life of being a farmer, going behind-the-scene of sustainable vineyards, dairy ranches and other working farms. The teachers will interact with some multigenerational family farmers and local agricultural leaders who will provide an overview of sustainable farming practices and the impact agriculture has on the community. In additional to these visits and tours, each teacher will receive an Ag Camp guide for developing new curriculum.
“Ag Camp is yet another example of our commitment to sustainability and maintaining our agricultural identity in Sonoma County by helping leading educators teach the how, why and the benefits to the next generation of farmers,” said Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers. She added, “I think Saralee would be thrilled to know that her legacy of connecting kids with agriculture will continue through the teachers who will have a unique opportunity to interact with farmers and learn about our history as an agricultural industry leader as well as our efforts to become the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region by 2019.”
The inaugural Saralee’s Sonoma County Ag Camp will take place on July 11, 2014, with a full day of vineyard, ranch and farm visits, educational presentations by local agriculture leaders and other experts, and much more. Starting in 2015, this program will expand into a three-day camp that will allow each participating teacher to fully experience what it takes to farm sustainably in Sonoma County.
“The Saralee Ag Camp will be a great opportunity for agriculture instructors to connect with industry to learn more about current practices and methods,” says Debi Batini, Director of Career Pathways & Community Outreach for Santa Rosa City Schools. “The program will provide teachers with a variety of resources to be utilized in the classroom to assist students with understanding the agriculture industry in Sonoma County.”
About the Sonoma County Winegrowers
Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, dba Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), was established in 2006 as a non-profit marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. With more than 1,800 growers, SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world. For more information about SCWC and its programs, visit www.sonomawinegrape.org
About Sonoma County Farm Bureau
Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary not for profit organization of farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity, and social advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being. Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national, and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and not-secret in character. Farm Bureau is the voice of agricultural producers at all levels. Visit www. http://www.sonomafb.org/