Most people are familiar with seeing the endless lettuce fields which line the 101 corridor in the Salinas valley, but over the past year youth at the Greenfield CSW went beyond the fields into the new technologies revolutionizing agriculture. The “Geek Gardener” program began as a partnership with the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum‘s community garden, but this past year the CSW gained support from Driscoll Berry to make it a little more “CSW” style. In addition to opening a brand new community garden in Greenfield, the youth got a taste of a slough of really cool tech that is changing how we grow food, from aquaponics, to drones, to genetic engineering, desalinization and water recycling. As one youth put it, “I want to major in computer science, but I never thought that had anything to do with the farms out here”.
In addition to the new garden, youth designed and built a Vermicomposting bin & a self-regulating Aquaponics garden, now permanent exhibits on display at the Greenfield CSW. Stop by and check them out on your next visit!
There is a lot of science and technology in Agriculture, once you stop to take a look (and if you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty). Greenfield youth got to do just this, taking apart drones to understand their anatomy and how they can be used for farming, and building a simple desalinization plant model to understand how much energy this method requires. Youth also collected soil samples from all over the region and compared Ph with that of the soil going into their new garden to plan for the right kind of crops. Finally, youth got to get out of town and make a special trip to the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
For underserved youth in rural communities like Greenfield, Science and STEM to be relevant & connected to what is going on in the world around them. CSWs have a huge potential as “hubs” for connecting youth to opportunities across the community and region, and we hope that this model can be replicated again next year and at other CSW sites. Stay tuned!