Our group met at the fantastic Connolly Ranch. Here, Jennifer Fotherby showed us a brief video about how the Ranch was started, the history of the property and what it has come to represent. This gave us a history about Connolly Ranch. With a mission to “Connect children and families to nature through farm based education,” the awesome staff do their very best to help kids and adults alike, learn about various ways in which they can farm and create sustaining gardens. Connolly Ranch has 10,000 adults and children that visit per year and many activities available for Napa and its surrounding communities. Jennifer’s passion for reaching out to young children and teaching them about the animals and farming was clearly evident in her talk. We would like to encourage everyone to check out their website for fun and interesting activities as well as to learn how you can help. We were all introduced to the animals and enjoyed this experience.
Next, we were off to Ag 4 Youth, where we met with Paul Tarap. This is a program that focuses on providing a positive outlet for disadvantaged and at-risk youth. Those accepted to the program are set up with an investment to purchase an animal. They are responsible for the care of the animal and for selling it at the Napa County fair. We got a first hand look at the amount of work these kids put into caring for their animals and were surprised to learn that the money earned from the sale of their animal goes into a private account for the student to put towards their education. This is a worthwhile program for youth who need and want this type of help in our community.
After a look at the cute Pygmy goats, we went inside the Horsemen Association building for lunch and listened to the history of the Napa Valley Horsemen Association.
What a great day, despite the rain, to learn about our different community agriculture programs for children. We strongly recommend checking out both of these fantastic places and lending your support in whatever way you can. Let’s help maintain good agricultural practices and programs for our sustainable farming communities.
Submitted by Stacy Preiser and Thwani Satten, members of Class 30.