Clovis East FFA Hosts Farmer’s Market at New Agricultural Center

The students stand behind one of their tables set up for their farmers market on Thursday. The students sold strawberries, artichokes and lettuce. (Photo by JT Gomez/Clovis Roundup)

At the McFarlane-Coffman Agriculture Center, the FFA held its weekly Farmer’s Market.

This week, FFA students chose to sell strawberries, artichokes and lettuce as fresh produce options, grown and prepared by the students themselves.

Steve Gambril, an agriculture teacher and supervisor of the plant science pathway at Clovis East High School, acknowledged that he helped start the farmers’ market in 2010 and has been working with farmers’ market students ever since. farmers.

“Since 2010, we used to go to the farmer’s market in the old town. And the kids love going there and selling stuff.

Gambril explained that the trees planted in 2006 came to fruition in 2010 and since then the FFA has been selling to the community of Clovis.

Gambril went on to talk about the new McFarlane-Coffman Ag Center facility. “Our goal when we designed it and got this grant to build this building, we wanted a farmers market, facing Gettysburg.”

The neighborhood on Gettysburg and Leonard avenues is the perfect place to sell to customers according to several Clovis East employees and executives. “It’s our community, and they see what we’re doing,” Gambril said of the opportunity to have open communication with the community about how they produce their crop.

He hopes to have posters on the outside fence of the Agricultural Center to educate and inform about the production of their crops. It would also help start a dialogue between students and clients to “start an awareness” as he calls it.

Gambril continued on the new McFarlane-Coffman Agricultural Center building, “It’s kind of a dream for all of us as teachers. And what we want children to learn and people to see is production agriculture.

Gambril cites the food science lab and the opportunity it presents through different forms of food production such as preserving fruit in jams or freeze-drying products. “That’s sort of one of the end goals of what I envisioned.

Taking our raw products that were perishable, minimally processing them, then repackaging them and returning them to our district. »

Being able to work at the farmer’s market has done wonders for his FFA students according to Gambril.

The idea behind it is that the farmers’ market engages students in the community and allows students to develop their “soft skills”, as Gambril calls them.

Being able to talk with adults about their products and have a discussion is something involved kids love to do. “Where else are they going to find this?” exclaimed Gambril of the opportunity the farmers’ market presents for his students.

According to Gambril, a second major attribute of the farmers market is to educate the community as a whole. “It connects everyone to agriculture. So they realize where their food comes from and what healthy eating and fresh produce should look like.

Gambril ended by indicating how the community can provide general support to the FFA.

“Everywhere from the county fair, buying animals that the kids are raising to the farm machinery projects they are exhibiting at the fair…We have fundraisers and drive-in dinners, there are a lot of opportunities where people can help.”

The Farmers Market will hold future dates and will now take place in front of the Mcfarlane-Coffman Agricultural Center at Clovis East High School. The FFA accepts cash and Venmo payments.

James V. Payne