Visitors can see agriculture in action on Sept. 18

Staff Report                                                                                       

The public is invited to the third annual Santa Barbara County Farm Day with free, in-person, open farm tours on Saturday, Sept. 18. This year’s theme is “Meet the Hands That Feed You.” Visitors can use a new online Farm Day Trail Map to build a custom itinerary to travel between growers and curated tour routes throughout the Santa Maria Valley.  

In an event that is for all ages, the public will experience a day of agricultural activities, farm tours, tastings, and fruit and produce giveaways, plus attendees can hear from the local farmers, ranchers and growers who produce the food we eat. 

Visitors can learn about seed science, see the newest and most advanced farming technology including the Ferrari transplanting machine at Plantel Nursery, learn how compost is created and used on farms, and hear about the seed-to-table journey. Tour hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

“Farm Day is the one day a year for the public to experience working farms,” said Mary Maranville, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), which puts on Farm Day each year. “So much goes into producing the foods we eat every day — the lettuce, celery, broccoli, strawberries, blueberries, onions and herbs. The variety of food that grows in the Santa Maria Valley is enormous. Growing a single strawberry literally requires more than 100 workers — from prepping the soil, planting, caring for, harvesting and packaging to finally shipping the fruit to market.”

Farm Day participating growers and agricultural partners include Allan Hancock College, Babé Farms, Bonipak Produce, Driscoll’s, Engel & Gray/Harvest Blend Compost, Gold Coast Packing, Innovative Produce, Main Street Produce, Paul Righetti Ranch Company, Plantel Nurseries, Primus Labs, Rancho Laguna Farms, Reiter Affiliated Companies and Riverbench Vineyard & Winery and Zaca Mesa Winery (offering a free flight tasting).

“Agriculture is an important part of the Santa Barbara County economy. It is a $1.6 billion-a-year industry,” said Maranville. “Many of the farms are run by third- and fourth-generation farmers. We are fortunate to have so many local growers excited to share their knowledge.”

SEEAG’s mission is to help children understand the farm origins of their food through classroom agricultural and nutrition education and free farm field trips. For information on participating farms and to access the Farm Day Trail Map, go to or call 805-901-0213. Also, mark your calendars for the ninth annual Ventura County Farm Day taking place Nov. 6.