1. Cover Letter
Dear Rotary Foundation Grant Administrators,
The San Diego Coastal Rotary (SDCR) respectfully requests a grant of $5,000 ($2,500 matched) for our Virtual Farm-to-School Field Trip project. San Diego Coastal Rotary is dedicated to exchanging ideas, building meaningful relationships, and making the world a better place. We work to fulfill our mission by hosting events, fundraising, volunteering, and community service work.
Our proposed project will allow us to:
Address climate science literacy through educating local K-12 school children in San Diego's South Bay about Regenerative Farming and Conservation in partnership with Wild Willow Farm, a non-profit educational farm managed by the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County.
Engage the community in environmental education by introducing parents, educators, and children to waste reduction, recycling, water conservation practices, natural resource conservation and restoration through local farming.
Thank you for your consideration of our request. I am available to answer any questions you might have. SD Coastal Rotary Board Member, Allan Candelore
2. Problem Statement:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) attributes 31% of global greenhouse gas emissions directly to agriculture and land use changes. If the processing of food, its transport, storage, cooling and disposal are added, which the IPCC ascribes to other sectors, more than 40% of all emissions are caused by the way we farm and eat.
We need to protect the environment and the single greatest impact to our earth's health is the agriculture systems that supply us with the food we eat!
Food and agriculture is an important pivot for climate action and education. Farm-to-School is sometimes narrowly defined as, "local food served in school cafeterias", but the broader holistic definition also includes hands-on experiential education components including farm field trips.
Farm-to-School programs directly contribute to climate science literacy and the National Farm to School Network reports educational and environmental benefits of programs connecting children with farms including:
Providing children with an understanding of gardening, agriculture (growing cycles, seasonality), local foods and the environment.
Reduced food waste of local food, both on the production side as well as plate waste.
Reduced transportation-related environmental impacts, such as emissions of air pollutants.
Support of environmentally sound and sustainable approaches to food production, processing, packaging, transportation and marketing.
Additionally there is a dire need for educational resources and curriculum in K-12 education. As recently reported in the LA Times, "educators seek to follow curriculum guidelines that call for more relevant, hands-on lessons and stronger instruction on climate change and the environment. However, widespread science teacher shortages and the lack of training among many current teachers on climate change threatens the goals of the curriculum that aims in part to prepare students to be environmental problem-solvers as they enter adulthood." (Kohli, "Students want climate change lessons. Schools aren't ready", latimes.com)
Our Virtual Farm-To-School Field Trip project can fill this training and curricular gap.
Additionally, there is a need for virtual learning due to COVID impacts.
3. Project Objectives:
Our proposed Virtual Farm-To-School Field Trip project will directly contribute to our mission of addressing our community's education, health, and economic development needs. Objectives include:
In 2019, approximately 1,000 youth visited Wild Willow Farms through a field trip or group activity. We anticipate that a virtual field trip experience will at least double the number of participants, enabling us to reach at least 2,000 children per year.
Engage K-12 students in five districts in San Diego's South Bay, including South Bay Union, Sweetwater Union, San Diego Unified, San Ysidro, and National.
Bringing one educator to a school is less expensive than bringing a class to the farm and due to Covid19, school field trips are impacted so the videos give schools more options and allows Wild Willow Farms to reach more students.
Evaluate the project with surveys and interviews of two classes that participated in the project.
The more we become aware, especially kids, of how and where our food comes from helps humanity understand how to act more responsibly. Too many young kids, when asked where their food comes from, answer "The grocery store."! But, we can change that by educating kids and those who want to learn about where our food comes from and how regenerative farming leads to sustainability! Awareness fosters change!
4 Project Methods:
To produce four videos on regenerative farming and conservation in collaboration with Wild Willow Farms.
Wild Willow Farms (WWF) field trip program has several different rotations usually about 20 minutes each, and each rotation covers a different farm topic. WWF is a small community regenerative farm located in Otay Mesa California, alongside the Tijuana River Valley. We are picking the top 4 rotation topics offered at WWF which will give students a field trip experience from their classroom.
The 4 video topics are: 1. Animals 2. Composting 3. Planting 4. Tasting/ Discussing Local & Seasonal food.
3-weeks: SDCR will host a fundraiser event and create a short online awareness video to help raise the $2,500 for half of the grant while promoting the idea behind the need to expand teaching of Regenerative Farming and Conservation.
4-6 weeks: WWF will work on the video content and SDCR's members will help volunteer to assist in the production of the videos.
2 weeks: The videos will then be edited and subtitled in Spanish. Maria Fernanda Torres, is a Board member at SDCR who works with many schools in Tijuana Mexico. The videos can be offered there as supplements for educators and in other Spanish speaking portions of the world.
The Virtual Farm-to-School Field Trip program will be promoted to all schools in San Diego's South Bay (districts including San Ysidro, South Bay, Sweetwater Union, San Diego Unified, and National), as well as to previous field trip participants (schools from across San Diego County) and home school groups. We will also reach out to scout groups and other youth groups offering environmental education to their participants. Because the field trip program is utilized mainly by elementary aged youth, we will target those age ranges in schools but we will promote the program widely to expand the number and ages of participants that benefit.
2020-2021 school year: Wild Willow Farm educators will visit a class, talk about the farm, present the videos, and lead students in a hands-on farm related activity.
4-6 months after launching: SDCR will evaluate the project with surveys and interviews of at least two classes that participated in the project.
5. Project Budget:
Hire professional crew to record and edit the videos.
Equipment, materials, instructors time and editing per video: $1,000 x 4 = $4,000.00
Professional Translator $250.00 x 4 = $1,000.00
Total Project will be $5,000.00
The total cost of implementation for our project is $5,000. Of this amount, $2,500 will be fundraised. Your investment of $2,500 will complete the necessary funding needed to implement our project.
6. Organizational Background
San Diego Coastal Rotary:
San Diego Coastal Rotary is dedicated to exchanging ideas, building meaningful relationships, and making the world a better place. We work to fulfill our mission by hosting events, fundraising, volunteering, and community service work, you can see some of our past work here: https://portal.clubrunner.ca/10109/stories
Wild Willow Farms:
Wild Willow Farms is a non-profit educational farm managed by the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County. WWF is a nurturing space that encourages biocultural diversity, providing experiences to foster self-empowerment and inspire people to connect to food, land, and each other. In addition to field trips and group activities, WWF offers workshops and courses, grow produce for our Community Supported Agriculture program, and host community events and public volunteering days.
Wild Willow's on-farm field trip program is open to schools (kindergarten through college), youth groups, summer camps, and other groups looking for a hands-on, outdoor learning opportunity. Participants are divided into small groups and engage with the farm through a series of 'rotations', each led by an educator.
The WWF was started in 2010 by the San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, and has grown into a vibrant working, educational and regenerative farm. In September 2019, Wild Willow Farm became a program of the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County. Under the RCD, WWF is supported by a team that is committed to educating the next generation of farmers, consumers, and environmental stewards. To learn more please visit www.wildwillowfarm.org. WWF POC is Ann Baldridge, Community Programs Director, email@example.com, 619-562-0096 (office) or 619-621-4778 (mobile).
7. Four reasons why Regenerative Farming offers Food and Environmental Sustainability:
1. Richer and more diverse soils, which have more microorganisms bacteria and fungi, produce healthier and more nutritious plants and food. Richer soil captures more carbon and much of current tilling models of farming release a lot of carbon and damage the soil in the process.
2. Healthier Soil requires less synthetic fertilizers and less pesticides (like herbicides, insecticides and fungicides). This allows for less environmental impact and a more symbiotic relationship with local wildlife. By producing less pollution, less waste and less runoff into air, rivers, oceans and Planet. This allows and promotes nature to come back and co-exist in farming areas that have lost much of the natural biodiversity. Animal and plant diversity make local wildlife more resilient to stress and extreme weather.
3. Prevents the degradation of soil, which in turn promotes the sustainability of farm lands without the need to cut into virgin land for new farming. Preventing land degradation also requires the need for less water, synthetic products and pesticides.
4, Richer and healthier soil does easily get stripped away from rain which commonly leads to soil loss and pollution downstream. The same healthy soil that regenerative farming creates is better at absorbing rain and irrigation water. This means that less rain/water runs off and more in turn is soak into the soil to help replenish groundwater and aquifers.
Conclusion: Regenerative Farming helps solve many critical issues we now face, and ironically this is how we used to farm in the past. THE whole World needs to understand and hopefully adopt this style of farming, especially this current generation of Students!
As they say, simply go back to Basics! Cheers!