Farm Day 2020

Jul 15, 2020






Over the past few weeks we have realized that the most beneficial way for us to conduct our programs this fall is to make them all available online. The SEEAG staff is using this summer to pre-record all of our programs, as well as develop scripts and activities to present our programs live via Zoom. If you are a teacher or educator, look out for our registration email for live Zoom presentations in August. We can't wait for you to see what we have been working on, and we hope to see YOU on Zoom very soon! 

Last week we also teamed up with the Humane Society of Ventura County at their virtual Animal Adventure Camp. As a special guest on Wildlife Wednesday, we focused on pollinators and all that they do to promote the growth of new plants. Campers were introduced to the many different species of pollinators from insects to birds to mammals. We explored the anatomy of a flower and broke down insect life cycles. Campers were astounded to hear that pollinators save farmers over 1 billion dollars a year just by doing what they do best, which thankfully includes pollinating the crops we love. We left the campers with a sound understanding on how important pollinators are in ensuring that the food we love to eat is available. 

If you have a virtual summer camp or lesson that you want SEEAG to be a part of, reach out to us!  You can email Caitlin Case (VCCWI) at [email protected] or Patrice Ringelstein (Farm Lab) at [email protected] for more information. 









We are excited to announce that Farm Day 2020 is going virtual! In order to keep the farms, our employees, and our community safe, we have decided to postpone this fall's tours and hold virtual Farm Day events instead that we hope will be a welcome substitute to gathering in-person. 

In order to maintain the momentum and excitement of Ventura and Santa Barbara County Farm Days this year, we are working with a professional videographer to film several exciting Farm Day Features that will take you behind the scenes and through the farm with some of the Central Coast's top and most interesting producers. We will also be hosting day-of virtual tours on Facebook Live, and will have some exciting giveaways in store as well! 

Stay tuned for a Farm Day newsletter that will be sent out shortly with more details on how you can be involved in this year's events! 

If you have any questions or comments regarding the 8th Annual Ventura County Farm Day and 2nd Annual Santa Barbara County Farm Day please email Emily Hidalgo at [email protected]







With a grant awarded from Union Bank, SEEAG's STEAM Career Pathways in Agriculture Program was able to establish two $1,000 scholarships through the Ventura College Foundation. These scholarships were awarded to two deserving Ventura College students currently working to earn a degree in Agricultural Sciences. The two students awarded scholarships were Enrique Rodriguez, who plans to pursue a career in agricultural business, and Isabel Valle, who plans to be an agricultural education teacher. Thank you to Union Bank, and all those who applied, for striving to make a difference in the future of agriculture! 





Mary: Why did you originally seek a career at Good Farms? 

Maureen: I was working for another agricultural company as a farm labor contractor, specifically working on their foreign temporary worker program (the H2A program). At the time, I knew of Andrew and Williamson (Good Farms) through trying to bring them on as a client. I was ultimately convinced to make the move because of our values alignment; treating people as people, focusing on the professionalism of the farm worker, and working towards equality in our food supply.

Mary: What is a challenge you are currently facing in this industry? 

Maureen: It's easy to say the challenges are labor, water, changing markets; but the next level to that is the need to put our energy into creating a company that is agile, flexible, and has a learning environment where we can address those challenges. We want to be a part of the sustainable food supply where everyone gets to eat fresh fruits and vegetables for many many years to come, and that means investing in leadership at every single level of the company. In my opinion and experience, the most profitable investment is in developing soft skills so that everyone feels safe, heard, can try new things, and can bring new ideas to the table. The nuance is that all agricultural companies need to change, but we don't know what the answers are to a lot of really tough questions. Being able to create a learning environment where employees at every level feel comfortable to try and recommend new solutions, that is the challenge that we all need to address.

Mary: Can you give a specific example of how you have included employees from different levels in your organization to find a solution to a problem? 

Maureen: One thing everyone is really interested in is automation, so we have a number of projects going on that are related to automation in the field. Instead of coming in and saying "you're going to be replaced by a robot," which is not true, we bring our farm worker teams together to advise the entrepreneurs who are doing the robotic development. In this way we are creating a system that is beneficial to everyone. You will see commonly see farm workers talking with MIT graduates about how best to pick strawberries, and we don't work with people who are not able to see the value of different perspectives.

Mary: Can you talk more about the future of automation at Good Farms? 

Maureen: Our main idea is to bring in automation that alleviates the parts of the picking and harvesting process that can be done better by a machine, and focusing on the things that can be done best by a human like quality control, presentation, and fruit evaluation. In the future, I don't think we are going to see humans bending down to pick every strawberry, but we will see humans evaluating the quality of every pack that goes out to the consumer. We will have the same amount of people working at Good Farms, but their work will definitely become more intellectual and less physical. 

Mary: What is your greatest source of pride? 

Maureen: The idea of empowering workers at every level of the farm is what gives me personal fulfillment. Being able to identify people and mentor them through their careers so that they can move towards their passions is what gives me a great sense of pride in my work. Since we have such a strong connection with our workers, we are able to find these gems of people who wouldn't necessarily have had an opportunity for growth without an advocate coming in and showing them that there is a system that allows them to achieve their personal and career goals. That's what I have found to be really special. 

Mary: Why does Good Farms participate in Farm Day?

Maureen: In order to have a sustainable food supply, we need young people to be interested in working in agriculture. We also need them to start being interested when they are young, so that they can try out different aspects of the industry because there are so many ways to add value. Getting people to see agriculture as a viable career pathway with a bachelor's degree, a master's, a PhD, or at any level of education is extremely important. Farm Day lets us connect with young students and families to show them the diversity of career opportunities in agriculture. 

Mary: What was the last book that you read? 

Maureen: "Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart" by John Guy

Pollinator Match-Up: Have you ever noticed that different flowers look and smell different from one another? That's because over time flowering plants have evolved to attract pollinators in ways that work best for them. Can you match each of the pollinators to their favorite flower? Use this guide to plant flowers in around your home or in your neighborhood to attract the pollinators that you love best. Click here for the activity! 

Let's Build a Flower: Pollinators are responsible for producing over 1 billion dollars in crops each year, but how do these amazing animals actually help out our farmers and the agriculture industry? When learning about the structure of any living organism, it helps to build it. For this activity, start by coloring the different parts of the flower, then follow our guide on how to piece the different parts part of a flower together. Click here for the activity! 


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