Val Verde Vegetable Launches Ag Internship Program with Pharr San Juan Alamo School District
- by Chandler James
MCALLEN, TX - Just like the seed, earth, air, and water come together to create the perfect plant, so too do growers and community members to form a harmonious partnership for the greater good. In the case of Val Verde Vegetable, this could not be more true as the grower recently partnered with a local school district to fortify the spirit of agriculture in Texas. Teaming up with the Pharr San Juan Alamo (PSJA) School District and the City of Pharr, Val Verde has set out to educate local youth about farming practices.
“The earlier we can get the younger generations exposed to it and thinking about it, the better chance we have of being able to get them involved in agriculture,” said Frank Schuster, President. “We need more exposure to what's involved in agriculture and what's involved in bringing food to the market. Always, the more you can educate your community and your customers, the better, more loyal customers you're going to have.”
The school already owned the ground, but did not have the equipment to operate it. Val Verde approached the school about putting the farmland back into production and using it as a teaching laboratory for its ag students. The company's farming arm, El Sabino Family Farms, is partnering with the school to operate an internship program with their students.
Some local suppliers have also volunteered to conduct classes at the farm to explain their part of the process—chemical companies, equipment suppliers, the water district, and seed companies are all on board with the program.
“We are farming the ground organically and including the high school ag classes to expose them to every step of the process from ground prep, soil sampling, drip irrigation, plastic mulch, and planting, all the way through harvesting and marketing,” Frank added. “I am not sure who is more excited, we the Val Verde family or the ag teachers and students at PSJA.”
Students who participate in this program will get exposure to Val Verde’s broad line of production from organic kale, cabbage, onions, and beets. They will also learn about the the grower’s conventional program that features wet veg and cabbage. Additionally, the company is now well into its cauliflower season, touting some of the best quality in Texas to last through next month.
How can one company manage so many monumental initiatives, you ask? We may never know, but Val Verde Vegetable will no doubt continue to juggle it all with grace and style.