BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – April 22, 2020 – On Earth Day, a day dedicated to the efforts to provide people with a clean and healthy environment, McKinley Elementary received one of the highest designations a school can achieve. The McKinley Agriculture Academy was recognized by the California Department of Education as a California Green Ribbon Schools award recipient.
“We are the first school in Kern County to achieve the California Green Schools award. This is huge news for us. We’re very excited to announce this major accomplishment,” said Lorie Morris, Academy Program Specialist
The McKinley Agriculture Academy launched in September 2018. At the McKinley farm, students enjoy a farm to table experience as they grow, prepare and later cook their produce. Students also have access to Kern County Edible Schoolyard curriculum, thanks to a wonderful partnership with the Grimm Educational Foundation.
“Our kids get to participate in every aspect of the garden. They’re learning sustainable agriculture, organic farming, and using green technologies. They take the produce that they’ve grown in the garden to our kitchen classroom and turn it into a healthy delicious meal. They are involved in every aspect of farm to table,” Morris said.
The recognition is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and communicate practices that result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness - while focusing on efforts to increase energy independence and economic security. It is a major accomplishment and prestigious designation for McKinley, a school seated in the breadbasket of America.
“Kern County is the largest agricultural producing county in the nation. We felt it’s extremely important that kids are involved in agriculture and see the career pathways that are available in agriculture” Morris said.