Ventura Unified opens organic farm

A one-of-a-kind facility in Ventura County.

Mayor Sofia Rubalcava and the VUSD Board of Education joined VUSD staff for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, August 29, 2022, to officially mark the opening of Sa’aliyas Ranch to Ventura Unified School District students. This certified organic farm facility will prepare high school students for agricultural science, business, and technology career opportunities and engage Kindergarten through 8th-grade students in STEM-related projects and activities as they learn about Ventura County’s agriculture industry.

Dr. Rebecca Chandler, VUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, shared, “Sa’aliyas Ranch (Chumash for “on the path”) has five acres of avocados, lemons, row crops, a state-of-the-art greenhouse with an aquaponics system, and indoor and outdoor learning spaces developed for K-12 students. Designed to be self-sustaining and teach students about agriculture, science, business, and technology in one of the largest industries in Ventura County, the ranch allows students to see science in action. We are thrilled to offer this exciting opportunity.”

Local industry and community partners were invited to the ceremony to recognize their time and input throughout the planning and development process. Students will be involved in the marketing and selling of produce to local businesses, and their partnership is essential.

Mike Etchart, Sa’aliyas Ranch Farm Manager and CTE Agriculture & Natural Resources teacher, explained, “The agriculture industry is one of the biggest employers in our county, with many different career opportunities that pay living wages in our region. This facility will not only provide students with an opportunity to learn about the science of agriculture but also gain valuable job skills in high school that would lead to careers with any number of local employers in the sector.”

We look forward to introducing the community to this immersive learning space; watch for public farm visit opportunities coming later this fall! For more information, visit our website at

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