SRJC receives ag grant
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Santa Rosa Junior College has been awarded a National Science Foundation – Advanced Technology Education (NSF-ATE) grant for $200,000. The three-year grant, starting July 1, will support advancing education in Sustainable Agriculture.

“SRJC is the only community college in Northern California to be awarded the grant this year,” said Dr. Ganesan Srinivasan, Dean of Agriculture/Natural Resources and Culinary. “We’re even more gratified because only two other community colleges in the U.S. have received NSF funding for sustainable agriculture education previously.”

The grant, entitled “Improving Pathways in Sustainable Agriculture Education for the North Bay Region of California,” will provide a more streamlined education pathway from high school to community college to university in sustainable agriculture. It will align curriculum so students can get college credit for courses they took in high school.

High school students will be introduced to sustainable agriculture through outreach efforts and a Summer Academy for Sustainable Agriculture (SASA) program, where they can get credit courses that satisfy both high school and college requirements. 

The first SASA will enroll over 25 Sonoma County high school students and will be held at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm from July 22-Aug. 2.

The grant will help improve student retention and completion rates by providing dedicated student counselors to advise students who are considering careers in sustainable agriculture. There will also be increased course offerings and internship opportunities.

“During this two-week intensive program, high school students will learn sustainable agriculture first-hand from a team of experts. We hope it will help many students to find their passion and future in agriculture,” Srinivasan said.

One of the goals of the NSF grant is to make it possible for students to more easily transfer to California’s state-supported four-year institutions that have sustainable agriculture programs such as University of California Davis, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Chico and Fresno State.

Students will benefit from experiential “farm-to-table” learning at SRJC’s 365-acre Shone Farm and the B. Robert Burdo Culinary Arts Center. 

They will also learn business and marketing techniques that are critical to operating successful sustainable agriculture enterprises.

More information about SRJC’s Shone Farm is available at www.shonefarm.com.

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