LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles Unified School District school is turning students into farmers.
The agriscience class at Sonia Sotomayor Arts and Sciences Magnet in Los Angeles gives middle and high school students the opportunity to work on a three-acre farm on their own campus.
Tenth grader Nathan Perez loves that one of his daily assignments is to feed pigs.
“Being with the animals just makes me feel good and I like being outside instead of being in a classroom all the time,” Perez said.
Agriscience is a three-series class that focuses on raising animals, functioning of the farm and how food goes from the farm to the table. They also learn basic construction skills.
The farm allows students to take care of turkeys, bunnies and geese and work on the land. They also have a greenhouse where they learn to grow native plants.
Reies Flores has been teaching the class for eight years and said he wants students to be self-sustaining and self-reliant.
“They should learn how to grow their own food. They should learn where food comes from,” Flores said. “It also gives them an idea of how difficult it is and be more thankful for the people who produce food and put food on our table.”
There are at least two chicken coops on the farm. Students collect eggs and learn in the classroom to cook food from the farm.
Learning where food comes from is something Perez said he has really come to value. When he feeds the cows, he thinks a lot about how he feeds himself.
“Sometimes when I eat like a hamburger or anything I just like think about the cows and how I treat them or the pigs and how I treat them and it makes me think I’m eating that,” Perez said. “It just feels bad sometimes.”
The class is offered to middle and high school students.