Kern County Young Farmers and Ranchers plant garden at Downtown Elementary

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The Kern County Young Farmers and Ranchers worked alongside students, staff and parents at Downtown Elementary School over the weekend to help build an edible school yard.

“Part of our mission is to help educate people and where there food comes from and there’s no time better than at a young age,” said Aaron Flores, president of the Kern County Young Farmers and Ranchers. “This is what it’s all about right here. We are really excited about all the support from parents and students.”

Each grade level gets their own section in one of the four new planters, built by students in the Project Lead the Way program.

“We’re trying to change from an urban concrete jungle to a beautiful green environmentally friendly and educational experience for kids here at Downtown,” said principal Noreen Barthelmes.

The students will plant crops like lettuce and carrots. Two citrus trees will also sit outside each classroom.

“We’re one of the richest agricultural areas in the nation and so our kids really need to know food doesn’t come from the grocery store, it comes from what we plant and nurture in the ground,” said Barthelmes.

A welcome sign, designed by 7th grader Lucy Thompson, complete with a dragon, the school’s mascot, laying among fruit and vegetables, is hung above the planters.

“I think it’s going to be pretty fun, especially for the kindergartners and first graders who are going to get to grow up with the garden and see how they grow among the years,” said Thompson.

Students will start planting seeds and other plants within the next few weeks.

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