WOODLAND HILLS – Despite the distinct smell of animal life in the air and the lush pasture behind him, City Councilman Dennis Zine looked slightly out of place in his blue jeans. “You mean I look like a farmer?” he said. But, then, it was a day you wanted to look like a farmer – or at least understand what farming life was like. Sunday was the 15th annual Farmwalk at Pierce College, and Zine reminded visitors that the college’s cultivated fields were established long before the surrounding area was developed into upscale housing, business complexes and shopping malls. “There was a time,” Zine said, “when all this was farming land.” Some 5,000 people – at least half of them children – attended the Farmwalk, getting a chance to see sheep being sheared, to witness cows being milked, to sit atop of a John Deere tractor and to get up close and personal with the farm life and animals that make Pierce College unique. “This is the only campus around of its type,” said Pierce College President Robert Garber, who reveled at the turnout for the Farmwalk despite threatening skies that turned to intermittent rain early in the afternoon. “This is the last area of farmland this size around – 427 acres, 200 of it this farm.” The Farmwalk had an air of a country picnic about it – barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch, some 30 slats of tasty strawberries grown on the campus to sample, an equestrian drill team and Nashville-style music by Simply Marie and her Canyon Country Cowboys, who were appearing for their fourth year. There were also exhibits, including one from the California Women for Agriculture, whose display reminded participants that the state has ranked No. 1 in agriculture for the past 50 years. “I have a theory that if you don’t work with the soil, you don’t have common sense,” said group regional coordinator Mary Landau of Altadena. “That’s why farmers have common sense. “When you understand how to grow things, you can learn about life.” For his part, Zine said he was determined to keep the sample of farm life at Pierce safe from the financial temptations of development. “This is a wonderful country farm,” he said, “and we want to protect it from anyone who might want to turn it into an asphalt farm.” [email protected] (818) 713-3761 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!