Dear Friends of the Center for Land-Based Learning,

As we enter the fall months of the year, it is traditionally the time that many of our long-time youth education programs get started. In our next Newsletter, you will learn about one of those, the FARMS Leadership Program, and our exciting new growth to many new communities in California, including Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

But, for this newsletter, I wanted to share some more good news - that is, a story from one of our alumni (Cesar Cardenas), and the impact that multiple years of programming with Center for Land-Based Learning has had on his life. This summer, we embarked on a new pilot program, funded by Wells Fargo, called the  "Central Valley Youth Employment Program (CVYP)". This program served 21 students in the rural counties of Colusa, Yuba, and Sutter, as well as students in the small town of Woodlake, in Tulare County. We identified students who had participated in our FARMS Leadership Program (Year 1), as well as FARMS Leadership Advanced (Year 2, a deeper dive into agriculture and natural resource careers), to participate. We have heard from employers up and down the state, but particularly in the Central Valley, that prepared, competent, motivated employees are hard to find.

Center for Land-Based Learning is stepping up to the plate to connect the best of our students to the best employers. Agriculture and natural resource careers are rapidly changing - and we are there to help the workforce develop these new pathways. Through strategic partnerships throughout the state, focusing most heavily on Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Kern, we are working one-on-one with agricultural businesses that need our services. They offer job shadows and paid internships, and we prepare our high school participants for these opportunities. Due to our partnership with My Job Depends on Ag, we can offer scholarships to the graduates of the FARMS Advanced Program, and continue to help and support them throughout their journey.

This is best understood by reading Cesar's own words: "You could say I have really taken advantage of the programs that cared about seeing me succeed. By completing all three of these programs, I feel more prepared than ever to go to college, finish my education and build a career in Fire Science." Congratulations on your success so far, Cesar, and we look forward to helping you further develop your career path in the years to come!


Cesar Cardenas
FARMS Leadership Program Alumni

I have lived in Woodlake, a small rural town in Tulare County, most of my life. My parents emigrated from Mexico and make their living by picking and packing oranges from the farms that surround my home. It was a very proud day for them when I graduated from Woodlake high school because I was the first in my family to earn a high school degree. Hopefully now, my younger sister will follow in my footsteps.

In high school, I was active in several sports, band and FFA. Because Woodlake High School is so small, everyone knows each other and watches out for you. I have a good sense of community because of the teachers and friends that continued to encourage me along the way. But it was my FFA advisor/teacher Mr. Abee who convinced me that Agriculture offered many opportunities. He helped me understand how important finishing school was and how education would help me rise to higher paying jobs. When he told me about the FARMS Leadership Program, I was anxious to apply so I could improve my communication skills. This proved to be a valuable program that not only helped develop those skills but also gave me confidence to try harder, meet new people and learn about a world outside of Woodlake.

After completing FARMS Leadership Program my junior year in high school, I was given the opportunity to participate in the FARMS Advanced Program my senior year and currently now participate in the Central Valley Youth Program (CVYEP). You could say I have really taken advantage of the programs that cared about seeing me succeed. By completing all three of these programs, I feel more prepared than ever to go to college, finish my education and build a career in Fire Science.

In the current program I am involved with, the CVYEP, I had the opportunity to job shadow at Sequoia Park with Fire experts who analyze the effects of forest fires on the economy. I spent a whole day with a crew of educated specialists in Natural Resource Management that showed me how important their work is and shared valuable advice about careers with the US Park Service. This was a great experience that I will never forget.

Currently I am enrolled in College of the Sequoias full-time and am preparing for an internship with the Tulare County Fire Department next year. Without this experience and training, I'm not sure I could have gotten this position had it not been for the FARMS Leadership Program.

I learned a lot about careers in Agriculture through the FARMS Leadership Programs, but mostly I learned about how to prepare for and find a career. Most of the time, we hold ourselves back because we are afraid to fail or scared to mess up speaking in front of people. Even though I still get a little nervous, I am more confident than ever to speak in public, shake a strangers hand and introduce myself. FARMS Leadership gave me this confidence by allowing me to practice these skills in 'real-life' situations, proving that the only thing to fear is fear itself.

California Farm Academy Info Session October 29th
For questions about California Farm Academy or to RSVP to the information session, call (530) 795-4146.

The Center for Land-Based Learning exists to
cultivate opportunity. 

For the land.
For youth.
For the environment.
For business.
For the economy.
For the future of agriculture.

Please make a tax-deductible contribution today.  

Thank you for your support.


CENTER FOR LAND-BASED LEARNING, 5265 Putah Creek Road, Winters, CA 95694  ■  (530) 795-1520