PICTURED: Artist rendering of Sa’Aliyas Ranch at Pacific High School in Ventura 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

On March 25, Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) broke ground on the district’s first certified organic farm, named Sa’Aliyas Ranch, on five acres at the back of Pacific High School on College Drive in Ventura. 

“This farm is a game-changer for us that will allow thousands of students the opportunity to build valuable real-world skills in one of the largest industries Ventura County offers,” said Roger Rice, superintendent of VUSD. “We are looking forward to seeing the innovation that comes out of this ranch for years to come.”

The farm will be the site of agricultural vocational training for high school students as part of the Career and Technical Education pathways program. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade will have the opportunity for STEM-related projects. 

 The learning area will include an indoor lab, outdoor and indoor classrooms, a berry hoop house and a greenhouse with advanced aquaponics. Various row crops will be grown and 300 avocado trees and 200 citrus trees will be planted. An area will be set aside for a neighborhood community garden. 

 VUSD reports that the name of the ranch, “Sa’aliyas,” is a Chumash word meaning “on the path.” It was chosen to honor the indigenous people of the area that have lived here for at least 11,000 years. 

VUSD includes 26 schools with more than 16,000 students. 

www.venturausd.org