FARM SMART is the outreach component of University of California Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville, CA. Funding comes from Farm Credit West, the Imperial Irrigation District, and Imperial County Farm Bureau as well as local seed companies. The curriculum is aligned with the content standards for California public schools, covering topics including health and nutrition, bees and pollination, and natural and renewable natural resources. Designed to be fun as well as informative, the program emphasizes hands-on activities, from harvesting and eating winter crops to milking an artificial cow and making butter, and includes hayrides and sing-alongs. It has been widely recognized in the community for its K-12 programs as well as the Winter Visitor adult program. Over 135,000 people have been reached through on-center visits and programs as well as off-site school visits since the program began in 2001. 

FARM SMART is passionate about educating youth and their parents through their K-12 programs. Every year thousands of Imperial Valley youth come to the Center to learn about agriculture, water and irrigation, natural resources, and scientific research. Children are sent home with produce they pick themselves, activities to do at home or in the class, and with seeds of knowledge and understanding for the future. 

In addition to this, FARM SMART hosts thousands of “snowbirds” in January and February through their Winter Visitor Program. Farm Smart educate visitors about Valley agriculture and water issues, and sends them home with a sandbag full of fresh produce from the Center. They get to experience a day on the farm and learn more about Imperial Valley’s amazing agricultural bounty.

The staff of the Imperial Valley Branch have volunteered at various Community events hosted by FARM SMART, acted as tour guides and making career presentations to summer interns. If you would like more information about Farm Smart, contact Bill Collins at the Imperial Branch.

Email Bill Collins for more information on FARM SMART.