Hidden Valley for Outdoor Ed? – California News

Hidden Valley for Outdoor Ed? – California News

Paul Wellman

At the south end of Palermo Drive, in Hidden Valley, the school district is looking to farm 12 acres it’s owned for decades.


School District Mulls Teaching Sustainable Agriculture, Animal Husbandry


The growing popularity of outdoor classrooms will mesh with Santa Barbara Unified School District’s highly successful Food Services program on a 12-acre property in the Hidden Valley neighborhood, near Modoc Road. At least that’s the idea, and its conceptual phase was officially floated for discussion during a Board of Education meeting late last month. Dubbed the Hidden Valley Project, the district’s plan is to use the now-undeveloped land to partially supply fresh fruit and veggies to school cafeterias as kids learn firsthand about farming, animal husbandry, and the related givens of sustainable agriculture and outdoor education in general.

“[Food Services Director] Nancy Weiss really dreams about turning this into a teaching farm,” said Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. “She already [has] ideas about how to partner with our organic farming community.” At this stage, the district is exploring some of the minimum requirements to pull off such an operation, including water, sewer, electricity, and any structures needed. The district has set aside $110,000 to get started on a conceptual design and a pilot-sized rollout.

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