Hard-working teens in Future Farmers of America invite you to come to Escondido High School in North Escondido to share the bounty of their crops. Bushels and boxes of fresh lemons, avocados, and grapefruit are available now and soon tangerines, apples, and peaches will ripen. Enjoy veggies, also grown by San Pasqual High, as well as herbs like cilantro, coconut thyme, lemon balm, Greek oregano and sweet marjoram—-even smoked tri-tip is planned from livestock that kids have raised.
It’s a back-to-nature grocery store on a 6-acre farm with Cougar Market sheep, goats and other farm animals up on the north side of campus at 1535 N. Broadway. When you see the varsity baseball field, you’re close to the market which is open 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays. When daylight is longer, the market will stay open a few extra hours.
It’s a great way to show kids where healthy food really comes from and meet teenagers who can talk about the farm, animals, and even how the project is expanding to include a full-fledged greenhouse and barn. If you visit throughout the season, you’ll be able to see the construction in progress. Future Farmers of America chapters share a common FFA motto: “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, and Living to Serve” and abide by a creed that guides their commitment and vision of their own future career in agriculture:
“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years. I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny. I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil. I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so–for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me. I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.”
You can plant a vision by helping kids imagine what it would be like to have a career in agriculture simply by visiting Cougar Market. Even if digging in dirt is the last thing they’d like to do, making healthy food choices is often tied to how well kids understand where food comes from.
With fruits and veggies filling the car, why not make a quick stop at a local plant nursery and pick up a plant that your children can grow. Growing an ornamental or edible plant is like having an Easy Pet. It’s quiet, cute, well-behaved and a perfect opportunity for young leaders who are practicing responsible routines. No vet care is required, just sunshine, fertilizer, regular water and the most valuable tool of every farmer: patience.