Students in some California public schools will soon be growing grapes during class time as part of a new agricultural education program supported by the state.
In October, Governor Gray Davis signed two laws instituting agricultural education in California's prekindergarten through 12th grade curricula. The laws -- which were backed by the Wine Institute, a San Francisco-based wine trade organization -- allocate $550,000 to finance gardens in California public schools and develop classroom agricultural programs.
"We wanted to emphasize the significance of agriculture in California's history, economy and culture," said Mike Felasco, the Wine Institute's Sacramento legislative representative. California ranks first in the United States in agricultural output. Felasco said that the grants and agricultural curriculum should be approved sometime next year.
Wine Institute president John De Luca met with Davis and key legislators to assure them that the private sector would contribute seeds, vines and other materials for the gardens.
Some California wineries have already sponsored grapegrowing projects for students. Beaulieu Vineyard, in Napa Valley, donated half an acre of vines to Calistoga Elementary School, while Sonoma County's Kendall-Jackson Winery allocated 7 acres of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for cultivation by Santa Rosa High School.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions