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ONME Local Fresno - Freedom School teaches children more than just about farming

By ONME Newswire

In this episode of It's ONME Local - Central Valley, podcast show host Julia Dudley Najieb features the Freedom School New Light for New Life Church of God in West Fresno, a year-round vegetable farm managed by a core group of 37 children and their adult mentors. It is for West Fresno youth, offering cultural, educational, and job skills programs to at-risk students in grades K-12.

The church’s associate pastor, Rev. Floyd D. Harris, Jr., founded Freedom School in 2015 basing it off the Freedom Schools of the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Harris' also has an urban farm in his front yard to educate the neighborhood children in the area.

They meet on Saturdays during the school year and twice a week during the summer, including at least three farmers’ markets held at the church. Children also perform public service projects and give produce to seniors and others in the neighborhood. In addition to agriculture, the Freedom School teaches tangible job skills such as construction, landscaping, janitorial work, and other related tasks.

The challenges facing Black farmers in Fresno are mirrored nationwide. In the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, Black farmers accounted for just 1.4 percent of the country’s 3.2 million farmers. California reported 526 Black farm operators—.7 percent of the state’s nearly 78,000 total farms—of whom only 345 were principal operators in charge of day-to-day operations. In Fresno County alone, only 42 out of 5,683 farms reported African-American farmers.

For more information on how to donate or register your child, go to: or call:

Freedom School Address: 1106 W. Woodrard Fresno, Ca 93706 Rev. Dr. Floyd Harris Email: Tel: (559) 790-4277 Board Chairperson Email: Tel: (559)790-5172



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