October 13, 2016: A recently launched organic farm at Fresno Adventist Academy has positioned the school as a local trendsetter.
Harvest Fields Organic Farm joins a growing national effort to build stronger ties between schools and farms. The venture is only two years old and sits on 13 acres on the school campus.
The school hopes students will learn both valuable skills (agriculture is a major local industry) and more about eating healthy food from their work on the farm.
Student farmers are kept busy with 130 pasture-fed hens, four greenhouses, fruit trees and vegetable plots. A common sight is a high schooler riding in from campus fields on a tractor.
Younger elementary school children also get in on the action. They are taught skills like vegetable gardening in farm class. Need to know how to plant lettuce or harvest radish? Ask a fourth grader.
The farm is already expanding. Plans are in place to convert the school’s little-used football field to grow potatoes.
“We really didn’t have much of a football program, so we decided to put that land to a good use,” said David Obermiller who heads up the farm with his wife, Hope, to the Fresno Bee newspaper.
News of the farm is spreading and Obermiller already is helping a charter school in downtown Fresno start an urban farm.