The SRJC has a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm they have some wine. And olive oil. And heirloom tomatoes. And . . . well, as expected, this song fell apart just after “wine.”
There will be plenty to sing about at this week’s Shone Farm 40th anniversary Fall Festival. The Santa Rosa Junior College’s 365-acre farm, situated by the Russian River near Forestville, provides students with hands-on experience in growing, maintaining and marketing everything related to farming, from root vegetables to grapes. It’s been more of a laboratory and teaching tool for students, but new dean of agriculture Dr. Ganesan Srinivasan hopes it can also be a money maker for the school.
In addition to expanding the program, Srinivasan is focusing on marketing products produced at the farm, including its award-winning olive oil. It’s a delicate balance, because some of the major donors to the school—wineries, for instance—could end up being potential competition in the marketplace. “The key will be how we do it so it enriches student learning and is not perceived as competing with local businesses,” says Srinivasan.
In addition to lunch prepared by students, there will be tomato tasting, wood milling, hayrides, apple pressing, pumpkin picking and scarecrow making.