Students are getting hands-on experience on their district-owned farm in Turlock right now, in the peak of harvest season.

"We come out here and basically run the farm," Payton Donaldson, a senior at Pitman High School said.

Pumpkins, peppers and peaches... oh my!

"We're either planting or obviously picking or we’re changing water," Donaldson said.

It’s harvest season at the Turlock Unified School District’s farm.

“The pumpkins were humongous. They were so cool!” Jaedyn Lopes, a middle school student said.

“Not many kids can say, 'Oh yeah, I got to be a part of this.' So it really is pretty awesome," Donaldson said.

Donaldson, 16, comes out to the farm four times a week, as part of her Farm Management class.

“I love being out here because I get to get deeper into ag. and I get to learn more about the stuff out here and about how everything else is run," she said.

Like many others in her class, she’s hoping to pursue a career in ag.

“It’s really gotten me to want to do it. It’s got me into learning more about stuff which I didn’t know before," she said.

It's Laura Brem's job to get students excited about learning on the farm.

"In California, specifically here in the Central Valley, it is a huge industry here and there’s a lot of jobs. And so, our job here at TUSD is to make sure that students are career and college ready. And so it gives kids the opportunity to have hands on experience," Brem said.

And the thing is, the district farm is meant for students of all ages, like the middle school students from garden club, to harvest, and even elementary students, to learn about irrigation and civil engineering.

“Instead of just learning from a book, they’re actually out here experiencing it and that’s a really exciting thing for them," Brem said.

Once the students are done harvesting on the farm, the pumpkins will head right back into the classroom.

"They can either have it as a lab, where learning from it and they’re able to cut open the tomatoes and find out where the seeds are, or they can eat them. They can make things from them," she said.

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