Earlier this month, I was able to connect with 2023 GSBA Scholar, Esther Grosz, to talk more about her participation in FFA, Future Farmers of America. As many of us may know, FFA is primarily an agricultural program that falls under the Career & Technical Education umbrella found in several high schools across the state. What you may not know is that the Washington FFA Association is made up of over 13,500 members in 175 chapters (schools)!

Esther first became involved in FFA in her Freshman year. She isn’t from a traditional farming family but did have some connection to its importance after spending several summers picking berries and helping sell them at a local Farmer’s Market. After attending her first convention, Esther was hooked! She enjoyed both the competition and the family feel of the organization.

In this past year, Esther served as state officer for Washington’s FFA – the 2nd state officer of Asian-American descent in its 93-year history! This kept her busy teaching workshops for various chapters (100 to be exact) and participating in advocacy both locally in Olympia and nationally in DC. She also began work on her final SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) project as a technician in a veterinarian clinic.

Esther is quick to acknowledge that FFA is still working towards inclusion and diversity. It can be difficult to recruit new students to FFA when the existing membership doesn’t look like you. Creating safe space for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC students is an on-going conversation. That has led Esther to run for a national officer role. If elected, Esther would represent all 850,000 students in the program, train upcoming officers, travel to various state conventions, and collaborate with her fellow officers to create six recommended topics for FFA chapters nationwide. Further, Esther will have opportunity to travel Uganda to study sustainability in farming.

Esther’s participation in FFA has nurtured a true passion for the importance of agriculture in our lives. Beyond food, it is both a cultural and economic backbone of our communities. Esther is attending Washington State University this Fall to study the business of agriculture with the larger dream to continue to into immigration law. She hopes to impact positive change for H2-A workers (international seasonal farm workers) and their families. Esther feels that to gain a true understanding of what it is to be a farm worker in America takes not just speaking to the experience, but truly digging into who these workers are and what their experience is to then be their best advocate.


Written by Stacy Harbour-Van Hoy
GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund Program Manager