Date: Sep 25, 2013


Local Farmers to Visit Yuma Schools to Promote

 School Garden Initiative

Media and Photo Opportunity

Support for School Gardens by Local Farmers Continues to Flourish

Irvine, Calif (September 25, 2013) – This Friday, local  fresh produce farmers will team with staff from Western Growers, an agriculture trade association based in Irvine, CA, which represents specialty crop growers in Arizona and California, and visit five local schools who received grants this year.  

Rachel and Robert Barkley of the Barkley Ag Enterprises, LLP of Arizona will tour several area schools that have taken advantage of the School Gardens program with Paula Olson, vice president of marketing at Western Growers.  

The visits will begin at 9 am at Alice Byrne Elementary School, and will include stops at: Kofa High School, St. Francis of Assisi School (Elementary), Gowan Science Academy (Elementary) and Yuma Lutheran (Elementary).

 Media is welcome and encouraged to attend the visit at Alice Byrne Elementary School at 9:00 A.M., 811 West 16th Street, Yuma, 85364

“Barkley Ag sponsors many of the Alice Byrne School’s garden activities while other producers work closely different schools,” said Paula Olson of Western Growers.  “Producers such as Tanimura & Antle are heavily involved with the Gowan Science Academy, a new district-sponsored charter school that opened just last month in Yuma.”  It’s very special to see such strong industry support for our kids and schools,” Olson added.

Local and regional specialty crop producers, such as Barkley Ag, JV Farms, Pasquinelli Produce, Tanimura & Antle and the Growers Company, help support agriculture education and healthy eating with school children by supporting Western Growers Foundation (WGF) School Gardens program.   Support ranges from the donation of materials and supplies to providing expert field and classroom instruction. 

Schools that apply and are selected to participate in the program receive a $1500 grant from the Western Growers Foundation to start and maintain their gardens.   Grant funding is provided through the Arizona Department of Agriculture to the Foundation as part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant.  

“Every time we reach one child and educate them about the food they eat and how to eat healthy, we help the whole community,“ said Rachel Barkley.  “After all, these could be the farmers of the future.” Cailtin Antle Wilson of Tanimura & Antle added, “Visits to Yuma schools shows producer support for promoting school gardens is alive and well.”

During the tour, Western Growers and our farmers will also be promoting “Arizona Gardens for Learning,” a comprehensive guidebook that provides a strong foundation to support the growing school garden movement. It was developed by a team of experienced garden educators, nutritionists, state officials, and other garden experts and features many Arizona school gardens. It will be free to download at and $29.99 to purchase a hard copy.  Schools that have received a grant from WGF will get one for free.

About Western Growers

Founded in 1926, Western Growers is a trade association of  local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona and California. Our members provide half the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables including a third of America’s fresh organic produce. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices as the first line of defense against obesity and disease. We grow the best medicine in the world.™

About Western Growers Foundation

Western Growers Foundation was created by Western Growers members as a way to give back to their communities. The Foundation’s mission is to plant and sustain a fruit and vegetable garden in every willing Arizona and California school.  Edible school gardens give children the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and the importance of good nutrition. The school gardens program is an important educational tool that Western Growers Foundation uses to promote good nutrition to our schoolchildren in Arizona and California.

About Barkley Company of Arizona

Located in the heart of Yuma County's farming community, Barkley Company of Arizona has an extensive background in farming a diverse variety of crops. Barkley Company has a long standing reputation of meeting and exceeding our customer's expectations. Annually Barkley farms over 4,000 acres of fresh produce, winter vegetables, cotton and grain crops. Farms are located in three diverse growing areas within the county allowing us to take advantage of a broad range of planting and harvesting dates. Barkley Farm Mangers live on site at two of our growing locations providing them with the ability to carefully monitor all growing practices.

About Tanimura & Antle

Tanimura & Antle is an industry leader whose commitment to premium quality produce has remained strong since its formation in 1982. The Tanimura & Antle families combined years of experience and knowledge to establish a produce company unrivaled in its quality products, innovation and dedication to growers, customers, consumers and employees. Today, as one of the largest independent lettuce growers in the United States, Tanimura & Antle farms more than 30,000 acres of rich, fertile farmland and ships a full line of premium fresh produce products throughout North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit



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