By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
MUSD School Farm plays host to 4,000 third graders
Thousands of students swarmed around different farm equipment, including these John Deere tractors, displayed at the Manteca Unified School Farm Wednesday for the annual fall AgVenture field trip for third graders in South San Joaquin County. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Brice Ellis meticulously arranged the miniature barns, cattle, fences, and loading trucks on the display table of the San Joaquin/Stanislaus Cattlewomen under the canopy of an almond tree.

He was quite engrossed with his chore and was not at all rattled that more than a dozen pairs of curious eyes were watching his precision moves.

“He’s helping us today,” Sheryl Morris said of her three-year-old grandson who moved like an old soul as he worked on the make-believe ranch.

That’s because her grandson “was born on the ranch” and has been surrounded by real-life animals, barns and other farming equipment all of his young life, explained a laughing Morris who is a member of the Cattlewomen organization and was one of the volunteers who manned the group’s display at the fall AgVenture field trip for fourth graders held in the Manteca Unified School Farm on Wednesday. They were among the dozens of exhibitors who took part in the interactive and educational event.

The organization’s display was that of Cook Ranch in Farmington owned by Cattlewomen member Candy Peterson.

“I go to all the three AgVentures” as a volunteer, said Morris. The three AgVenture events are Stockton at the county fairgrounds, in Lodi during the grape festival, and in Manteca at the district’s School Farm.

Their display on Wednesday was aimed at showing the third graders “what a working ranch does,” she explained.

“Kids need to know what it’s like at the ranch. They need to know where their food comes from,” Morris said.

Her dedication to the mission of AgVenture is evident in her volunteer record. She has never missed any of the events held throughout the county.

“I’ve even taken off work to come and volunteer,” she said.

Approximately 4,000 third graders and 400 volunteers took part in Wednesday’s fall AgVenture hosted by the Manteca Unified School Farm. The Manteca Unified third graders were joined this time by students from St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Manteca, St. Bernard’s Parochial School in Tracy, as well as New Jerusalem, Banta and Jefferson school districts in Tracy, and those from Escalon and Ripon schools.

The students were bused to the school farm, arriving by groups in staggered schedules so as to avoid overcrowding.

During the noon hour, the groups enjoyed a picnic lunch under the canopy of sun-dappled branches of newly harvested almond trees in the school district’s almond orchard just north of the district’s administration building.

For some of the groups, the rustic picnic experience was the culmination of their AgVenture this fall.