Cost: Free for public schools in Santa Barbara County

Who: Students K-6 grades

What: A farm tour with two classroom visits

Why: To raise awareness about farming, healthy eating and food systems and to fulfill California Science Standards

Where: Fairview Gardens, an organic farm and non-profit education center in Goleta, and local schools

When: Elementary Program- Spring 2013 Sessions: 2/12-2/28, 3/5-3/21, 4/9-4/30, 5/7-5/30. Tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-5pm and on Wednesdays from Noon-3pm.

How to schedule the program?: Contact Maureen Foley,, to work out scheduling.

Last fall, Fairview Gardens sprouted something new. Instead of just the usual batch of leafy greens and field crops, the farm brought Urban Seeds, an educational program for elementary and junior high students, to the community, with the help of a generous grant from the Orfalea Foundation. This spring, the program is back with new dates for February, March, April and May 2013.

The free program for Santa Barbara County public school students helps students learn about healthy eating, food systems, organic farming and more, while fulfilling California Science Standards. According to Sharon Tollefson, Fairview Gardens Education Director, the Urban Seeds Program helps kids make better decisions around food and community.

“Our new Urban Seeds program brings children closer to a visceral appreciation, through classroom education and first hand, on the farm experiences,” Tollefson said.

The Urban Seeds Program expands on Fairview Gardens’ farm tour program and offers age-appropriate learning opportunities and fun farm adventures for students who are increasingly isolated from rural and agricultural life. Fairview Gardens’ goal is to reach approximately 2,200 students in the Urban Seeds program in its first year, from September 2012 to June 2013. By December 2012, 360 students had participated in the program, during its premiere session.

But what do the students actually see and do during the program? Urban Seeds Elementary Program may allow children to watch bees in action, brush farm goats, feed chickens, sample food straight from the field and more, depending on the seasons, during a farm tour and classroom visits from a farm educator.

Ultimately, the Urban Seeds Program at Fairview Gardens is about promoting community connections and raising healthier children.

As Tollefson said, “If we are committed to raising our children to make healthy choices about food, community and environment, it is imperative that they experience these three pillars in a healthy balance. Becoming a part of Fairview Gardens allows children the opportunity to understand what it takes to grow food together and how it effects our local environment as well as our planet.”


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