Students honor Cesar Chavez with day of service

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A group of students spent Saturday following in the footsteps of 20th century American labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

"Somebody advocated for us, so we should give back to him," said Wooster High student KJ Echavez.

Cesar Chavez advocated for the rights of thousands of farm workers for decades, making a big impact in agriculture.

March 31 is Chavez's birthday, so students chose to walk in his footsteps, cleaning up two Reno farms: Urban Roots and Desert Farming Initiative.

As students worked, they say they realized the importance of Chavez's work.

"I would like to do more community service like this," said UNR freshman Kole Wesen. "I think it's really eye opening. This is where we get our food source from. It's sort of the glue that makes up our society."

Desert Farming Initiative Farm Manager David Hoffman says the program teaches students about more than just farming.

"By getting engaged we can actually create value to the food and agriculture. As a young farmer who actually makes a living at farming, I can make a decent living with health care. So it's guys like him that actually paved the way for the career path that I hold myself."

Hoffman says there is no better time for students to get engaged than right now.

"The average age of a farmer is nearly 60. As people retire and end up leaving the industry, it's going to leave a gap. So it's really important to get younger people involved in agriculture to take over the next generation of farming."