The bus starts here for people and organizations wishing to help students from Title 1 elementary schools throughout the region enjoy a growing adventure at the 2023 San Diego County Fair.

The Fair’s Plant*Grow*Eat (PGE) program teaches children about agriculture and nutrition in a fun, hands-on way. After devoting weeks to nurturing their radishes, nasturtiums and other edibles, they bring their produce to the Fair’s Infield Farm on a designated morning. They are greeted by Fair staff, bus sponsors and judges, receive ribbons for their efforts, then scamper off to explore agriculture exhibits, meet farm animals and, for many children, glimpse the Pacific Ocean for the very first time.

Don Diego Scholarship Foundation sponsors buses for students who might otherwise not be able to attend, due to school finance impediments. Each bus costs approximately $500. Donations in any amount are welcomed.

Bus sponsors enjoy free VIP parking and Fair admission on their PGE day. Longtime donors, including SDG&E, Del Mar Foundation, Del Mar Kiwanis, and San Diego Master Gardeners, say their primary reward is helping plant the seeds in young impressionable minds for a lifelong appreciation of farm-fresh healthy nutrition.

“We love this program!” declared Joe Guerra, Zelda Helewa and Steve Gardella of Del Mar Kiwanis at the 2022 PGE event. “Our mission is all about improving the lives of kids, one child and one community at a time. We love being able to give not only money, but our time when we come here and interact with the children.”

Parent Laura Castro praised the program for “inspiring my son’s curiosity. He has loved watering his plant daily at school and watching it grow. He talked about coming to the Fair for weeks.”

Don Diego Executive Director Ashley Colburn McCaughan states, “Last year, we were able to sponsor 27 busloads of eager-eyed students! Our generous PGE donors enable children, especially those who live in urban apartments without yards, to learn where their food comes from and how to grow it. Bus sponsorship makes the program come alive for these kids, many of whom say they plan to continue ‘farming’ at home. It’s a memorable morning at the Fair!”

Donations may be made online or by mailing your donation check (write PGE in the memo line) to Don Diego Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 614, Del Mar, CA, 92014.

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984. Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded $1,276,844 in scholarships to 362 students and in agriculture education grants. More information is at and