2023 Year End Review


    One nice aspect of seasons is that if something doesn’t work out as expected this year, you have the opportunity to try again the next year. Farming and gardening relies on this feature of time. The work comes in cycles of planning, hard effort, celebration and rest/reflection. San Diego Ag in the Classroom has been around since 1996. In that time we have seen many changes around the county in the fields of education and agriculture. We have stayed the course through these changes, demonstrating our resilience and focus. However, we always strive to do better. Our goals this year were to raise awareness and funds in order to increase the impact of our organization.

    One key goal this year was to increase our communications and outreach. To that end, we participated in several school outreach events, such as Career Day at Mesa Verde MS, Ag Day at Valley Center School District, and an “Adopt a House Plant” event at Hoover High School, in partnership with the Master Gardeners of San Diego County.  We also presented to community groups such as the La Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club, the Farm Bureau’s Graze at the Fields event, and CAPCA. Our Discover San Diego Agriculture online video series grew with the addition of several new spotlights on local farms, including Konyn Dairy and San Pasqual Valley Soils.  Lastly, we now have an Instagram account!

    As always, our primary outreach focus is San Diego County Educators. To bring attention to the amazing work done by our School Garden Support Program award recipients, we again organized a School Garden Open House in partnership with Darnall Charter School in September.  The garden teacher Jessica Eves has implemented the Sage Garden curriculum and Junior Master Gardener program school-wide, changing the lives of her inner city students.  We also partnered with the San Diego Botanic Garden to make the Teacher Resource Fair an annual event, with our biggest attendee turnout yet! The Resource Fair featured dozens of knowledgeable exhibitors from all corners of local agriculture and environmental organizations. Educators enjoyed delicious appetizers, local wine, giveaways, and armloads of resources. We also supported three registration scholarships for San Diego County teachers to attend the 2023 California Ag in the Classroom conference in Sacramento.  And finally, in February we provided $10K to 11 local schools through our Garden Support Program. 

    All of these activities cannot be done without the donation of time, talent, and treasure. We set our goal to pursue more funding and strengthen the board’s fundraising skills. Board member Janet Kister provided her colleagues with training on “How to Make the Ask,” and we developed a leave-behind packet of information to give to prospective donors.  We are also looking to partner with outside groups to support schools through volunteer hours or financial partnerships. For example, the Marine Corps has a volunteer liaison who connects soldiers and their families to volunteer opportunities in the community.  As an all volunteer board, we must have fun while we do anything, so we festively fundraised at the annual Farmer of the Year Dinner, as well as through a Wreath-making Workshop in December. The workshop showcased Resendiz Brothers Protea Flowers. We will continue exploring different fundraising tactics and methods to support the great need expressed by the school community. 

    The work will never be done, and we will get another opportunity next year to continue growing and making a difference.  We will always show up, assess the situation and our resources, try our best, then try again. Our small corner of the world is stronger for it. 


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