Manton Valley Farm School
The Manton Valley Fram School project began in 2017 as a local response by concerned parents and educators to news that our school’s services would be cut, perhaps even eliminated entirely, and our children bused out of the community for nearly 10 hours each school day. Together, we formed the Manton Education Council as a 501(c)(3) corporation to spearhead our efforts to keep education local, with an overall mission
“To kindle the flame of lifelong learning in children and uplift members of our rural Manton community by providing practical, hands-on educational tools and experiences.”
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UPDATE: MEC has decided to focus on achieving our dream by circumventing "BIG EDUCATION" and creating a private school free to Manton children. We will do this by grass roots efforts to raise funds and secure an endowment to hire a teacher, aide and grounds keep. We dream of an active education campus, with working farm, organic CSA garden for local public schools, historical museum, small private school and adult education evening classes.
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Our focus on practical skills, land stewardship, and grounded understanding arises from the particular challenges faced by our rural town, as well as the resources at our disposal. Obstacles to creating a vital community in our area revolve around its scarce job prospects, which stem largely from the difficulties of adapting traditional homesteading know-how to the contemporary economy. And yet we have considerable resources to draw upon in teaching our students, local knowledge expressed in Manton’s agricultural enterprises, which include viticulture and wine-making, family farms operating Community Supported Agriculture businesses, beekeeping, and animal husbandry.
The skillsets and perspectives employed in these and other rural means of making a living are the hub of our vision of education, but the sort of student we intend to produce also integrates them with “three Rs” academic skills and, especially, with an understanding of how our rural place fits within the wider world. The Battle Creek watershed, for example, much of which is located in Manton, is an excellent vehicle for studying salmonid conservation and water usage issues, matters that link our position in California’s hydrologic system with myriad economic, scientific, and policy questions, and which can be taught at varying grade levels.
We envision a working farm on campus that will eventually provide much of the school's nutrition, as well as offer vegetables to community members. We have now a flourishing garden, with plans for a chicken coup by the end of our first year.
California State University, Chico Agriculture Department has agreed to work with us by providing interns to help work the farm and teach the children about sustainability.
Makerspace has agreed to work with the Manton Education Council to apply for funding to have a Makerspace Barn where children will be able to build, plan and apply classroom knowledge to real life problems.
Manton is a unique and strong community, and it shows in our various fundraisers such as, The Manton Apple Festival, in its 27th year.
The Manton Education Council, our local nonprofit group, will be working toward offering adult learning night courses that will be run out of the Manton Valley School. In such areas as Computer Literacy, Filling out online forms, Computer Skillsets for Microsoft Word, Excel, website construction, Master Gardening classes, etc. We also hope to offer yoga, and other fun community classes.
The council will work with the Manton Historical Society in the preservation of the first Manton Schoolhouse, which operates as a museum. The schoolhouse is located on the Manton School property and will be a vital resource for our children and community.