[ACE 292 Experiential Study Tour to California | Spring Break 2017]

As a class, we have spent all semester preparing for this trip.  The topics we've covered include agriculture diversity of California and some of its history, the challenges that it faces out there, and even a number of in-person and online guest presentations. Every guest felt more exciting than the last with people such as Karen Ross, the secretary of the California Department of Agricultural, and Dan Dooley, a principal at New Current Water and Land in Sacremento. All of this pre-trip preparation was capped off by a day-long farm tour to various farm and agricultural companies in Illinois such as Farm Credit and Illini FS. After all the pre-trip was complete, we were excited to head off to California. 

We left Champaign at 4:00 am on Saturday to catch an early flight from Chicago to San Francisco.  We arrived Saturday around noon and had Saturday afternoon and Sunday to do tourist activities in the area. Many of us visited sites such as China Town, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Following our activities in the city, we met up with the group on Sunday evening to eat at Marla Bakery Restaurant and begin learning about California Agriculture. 

Visiting Marla Bakery Restaurant was an unforgettable experience, allowing us to hear about agriculture from the perpective of a restaurant owner as we enjoye a delicious, fresh farm-to-table dinner. Before our meal, Brian Vroom told us about repurposing and using all elements of food to use for cooking and repurposing certain items in order to reduce waste. During dinner, another speaker discussed agriculture in California on a more macro level, including consumer preferences and marketing strategies. Together, both talks gave a good idea of what life outside of a classroom would look like in business agriculture.

We are excited for the rest of the week, which will entail many farm tours, hearing from government agencies, and talking with agriculture companies such as Climate Corp. Stay tuned to hear more about what we will see and learn this week!

Blog Writer
Caroline Helton