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MALT and Marin Organic partner to get Bay Area school children onto Marin farms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2012

CONTACT:
Marin Organic: Constance Washburn, Interim Director of Education, 415.663.9667, constance@marinorganic.org
MALT: Deirdre Holbrook, Director of Outreach and Communications, 415.663.1158 ext. 315, dholbrook@malt.org

Pt. Reyes Station, Calif.: Marin Organic and Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) announce a new partnership that aims to expand farm-based education for the Bay Area’s public and independent schools.

The collaboration centers on a program called Farm Field Studies, which provides K-12 teachers with health and agriculture curriculum linked to California State Standards and field trips to Marin County’s family farms. The partnership will enable the program to expand to meet the growing demand among Marin, San Francisco and East Bay schools.

“Farm Field Studies, which was created as a partnership between a number of organizations a decade ago and has been hosted by MALT for the past few years, will now benefit from the additional focus and leadership of Marin Organic,” says MALT Executive Director Bob Berner.

Marin Organic will lead and manage the Farm Field Studies program as a part of its strategic focus on public education about local and sustainable food systems. Providing experiential education opportunities for school aged children is a key component of the organization’s mission, and further enhances current programs, such as its popular Farm Days and Gleaning Program.

“In a society where children are increasingly detached from the origins of their food and obesity and diabetes are on the rise, it is critical that we engage and educate our youth,” says Interim Executive Director, Stacey Smith. “By connecting students to farms and farmers themselves, we can help build awareness and inspire a preference for locally grown, nutritious food that benefits their health and the environment.”

Constance Washburn, former Education Director at MALT, has joined Marin Organic as its Interim Director of Education to lead the development of its new experiential learning program. Constance was instrumental in the creation of Farm Field Studies and has led a countywide effort to strengthen farm-based youth education programs for more than a decade.

Marin Organic Board President and Cowgirl Creamery co-founder Peggy Smith commends the county's agricultural organizations for their camaraderie. She adds that such collaborations will help ensure deeper impact by focusing on each organization’s complementary strengths.

“Never before has there been such a willingness to share resources and support one another's work in Marin’s agricultural community," she said. “Partnerships like these really are a model for counties across the nation.”

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About Marin Organic: Marin Organic transforms and reinforces peoples’ preference for local organic food. Experiential education is a critical tool in this effort. When people, especially youth, have a chance to engage their senses as well as their mind on issues of health, nutrition, agriculture, and the environment, they establish knowledge and habits that will guide them throughout their life.

About MALT: Marin Agricultural Land Trust is a member-supported nonprofit organization created in 1980 to permanently preserve Marin County farmland. Some of the Bay Area’s most highly acclaimed dairy and meat products and organic crops are produced on farmland protected by MALT conservation agreements, which total more than 44,200 acres on 69 family farms and ranches. To learn more about MALT, visit www.malt.org.

 

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