All in the Family How The Wonderful Company and other ag industry leaders support their communities through education By Kara Timmins A s far as the whole story of agriculture goes, farming is just the beginning. resources for those who want to continue and build upon their family’s legacy within

In high school, WCPA helps students become college- and career-ready with their Career Pathways Program, where students can take community college courses right away and graduate with associate degrees in agriculture and health care. The flagship Ag Prep was the first of its kind in California. It now serves 1,400 students from ninth through twelfth grade and encompasses the partnerships of WCPA, seven public high schools and three community colleges. Taylor Farms provides scholarship and mentor programs for the children of their employees. “We are committed to a vibrant America with education as the foundation for opportunity,” said Bruce Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Taylor Farms. Other organizations like HMC Farms focus efforts on providing schools with support for school gardens around California along with lesson plans to local schools in farming and healthy food choices. College Support and Scholarships For many students in agriculture communities, they are or will be the first generation in their family to obtain a college degree. Grower organizations have created multi-faceted ways to help these students succeed. At Wonderful, Lynda and Stewart Resnick have provided over $22 million in scholarships to over 2,000 graduates of employees’ children, Agriculture Career Pathways Programs, WCPA and first-generation college students from Shafter, Calif. whose parents work in agriculture or logistics. Each student receives up to a $30,000 scholarship and also individual coaching support through their college journey. Today, Wonderful supports almost 1,000 college students and awards 300 more annually. To date, Taylor Farms has awarded $3.1 million in scholarship funds. These scholarships are given to the children of

agriculture. Few are as well-equipped as those who have been raised within the very communities that have fostered the industry’s past successes, to truly grasp, empower and navigate the future trajectory of ag. The Wonderful Company partners with Wonderful College Prep Academy (WCPA) to provide children in the Central Valley an opportunity to attend great schools, learn valuable skills, earn college degrees and launch rewarding careers. By providing support for the WCPA charter network and running two preschools, an innovative Career Pathways Program, and a college scholarship program—all free to students and their families—Co-Founders Lynda and Stewart Resnick are reinventing the educational experience and directly supporting over 5,000 students across the region. “Today’s children are tomorrow’s citizens,” said Lynda Resnick, Vice- Chair and Co-Owner of The Wonderful Company, “and we’re determined to make sure the next generation in the Central Valley not only excels in academics, but that they also use their passions to ignite change in the communities where our employees live and work. A quality education must be equitable and inclusive, so that every child can gain the skills and earn the credentials needed for successful, fulfilling careers.” Pre-College Support To start students in Delano, Calif. and Lost Hills, Calif. on the right track, Wonderful established two nationally accredited, year-round preschools that are open 12 hours a day. They are nurturing, play-based environments for children ages 3 to 5, preparing them for elementary through high school and beyond.

The rows of leafy-green heads of lettuce or carrot greens is the scene opener to a much grander narrative. The farm is the start and the wellspring around which communities are created, mirroring the growth of the product that brought the people to the rural regions of the United States. In an industry where many things can be debated, one thing rarely, if ever, is: A farm isn’t a farm without the people who make it happen. It requires a lot of people to feed society. The individuals who contribute their effort and expertise to getting food into stores and into people’s homes exist within a valuable network. Within the network that stretches out from agricultural businesses are spouses who create and support other businesses and children who are growing and learning. For most employees, the main driver of their hard work and refined expertise is to provide for and support their families. This means that the communities around farm organizations are just as important as the people who make it all work. Investing in the communities that have grown around agricultural businesses is a recognition of the network of people who make the industry possible. Providing support for the education of the community is the rising tide that lifts all boats. As the school year ends, it’s important to recognize that giving the next generation resources for success is a foundational philanthropic effort for ag industry leaders. Organizations like The Wonderful Company, Taylor Farms, Grimmway Farms, HMC, and much more have recognized the importance of that support. Their philanthropic endeavors support and encourage all forms of career and development paths and include additional


MAY | JUNE 2023

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