121: Mary Maranville on Agriculture Education for Children.
Improving food literacy in the community through inventive education programs.
Mary was raised on a Holstein dairy farm in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. In 2008 she founded SEEAG, Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture, which teaches children about the farm origins of their food and connects them to the farmland in their own backyard. After years of teaching thousands of local school children, Mary realized their parents also knew little about local agriculture. So she founded Ventura County Farm Day, a county-wide agricultural education event, which includes over 20 local farms, tours and activities.
In This Podcast: Greg chats with Mary and learns how she recognized the need for agriculture education for both kids and adults in her community and how she started an organization to do something about it. Mary also teaches Greg something he did not realize about agriculture and education. Together they share an appreciation of the Do-er’s in the world. And she explains about the annual event she organized to help farmers in her county connect with the residents through a day-long open house at farms around the county.
Listen in and Learn About:
- How an invitation to join a field trip gave her a moment of epiphany
- How spending 18 years on a farm was a privilege
- How she wants students to be aware of the agriculture in their community
- What SEEAG started as and how it has expanded and become a non-profit
- How students don’t even know what the word agriculture means even in a county that is highly ag-focused
- How students did not even know how long it takes to grow something like a lemon
- How her grandfather started a Holstein farm when he came to America,
- How that farm does not even exist anymore and how that is driving her goals to save family farms
- Her initial goal to teach 500 kids in one year about agriculture and food literacy,
- and how last year SEEAG taught 4200 kids in one year
- How they start with in-class programs to give an agriculture intro before any onsite farm education through free field trips
- What they learn on a field trip that becomes a paradigm shift
- Why schools have summers off
- What her hopes are for the future with her students
- Where she sees SEEAG in the future and how she wants to expand into other counties
- More about Ventura County Farm Day – which was started after realizing that parents were looking for more information about agriculture
- Why she talked the farmers into holding an open house all on one day
- What the community response was to this novel event
- More about the Press Day event that happened this year and why she managed to do this
As well as:
- How she works to remember not everyone goes at the same speed she does and how she is working on improving her patience
- How she considers the thank you cards from the students in the program to be one of her biggest successes
- How she loves what she does and how this drives her to continue what she is doing
- Her advice is to pay attention…. ask questions…. and educate yourself
Mary’s Book Recommendation:
The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food
by Dan Barber
How to Reach Mary: