Floyd D. Harris (second from right) with his students and their parents in the field, August 2016.

Fresno Freedom School Summer

By Floyd D. Harris

The Fresno Freedom School will host a series of activities for the 2017 school year. Participating youth in southwest Fresno will learn how to prepare the land and plant carrots, mustard greens, tomatoes, white and yellow corn, black-eyed peas, okra, bell peppers, Fresno chiles, eggplant, cucumbers and watermelon.

This is the Freedom School’s second year offering agricultural and vocational-based hands-on activities/training that can foster increased levels of awareness of the significance and impact of farming on everyday lives and to the foundation of American wealth and society. Freedom School students will have farmer’s markets to sell fresh organic vegetables to local businesses and their community.

In addition to creatively incorporating science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) concepts into Freedom School classes, training and workshops, participants learn the importance of love for the land, the value of teamwork and family, respecting persons from all socioeconomic backgrounds and the importance of social justice by gaining knowledge about contributions made by those past and present, and meeting people throughout the community who have dedicated their lives to promoting equality and improvements in their communities and beyond.

In August 2016, Community Alliance Editor Hannah Brandt visited the Freedom School at the Boys and Girls Club where Dvera Saxon (back right) was teaching students to bake pies with the peaches and nectarines they had picked at Masumoto Farms.

Last year, Freedom School participants took field trips to the Big Trees State Park and learned about the cultural richness and struggle of the Masumoto family by visiting their farm and hearing the Masumoto family’s story. Participants also picked peaches on their visit to the farm that they used for a cooking assignment and a fund-raiser.

This year, the Freedom School will offer classes or workshops in agricultural farming, automotive maintenance, journalism, personal development, sewing and knitting, video production, gymnastics and tumbling, cheerleading drills, stunts, janitorial training, landscaping, public speaking training/opportunities, African-American history and Spanish classes, as well as cultural arts activities and culinary arts projects Also, the school has a book club, a ladies and gentlemen club and a basketball team.

Learn more about Freedom School at https://xyfloyd.wixsite.com/freedomschool.

*****

Rev. Floyd D. Harris, Jr., is the founder of the Freedom School. Contact him at 559-790-4277 or xyfloyd@aol.com.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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