Wayne County High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) students are not afraid to get out in the heat and work in the Wayne County School garden. In fact, they understand the obligation they have to help produce the vegetables that are served on local tables.
Over a dozen students have been involved in the summer work happening in the school garden located on either side of the new athletic construction site on the Wayne County Schools campus. The students have harvested the first wave of corn and sold out on their first fundraising effort this summer. The sales from the 1.5 acres planted in corn help students defray costs on traveling events like: FFA Summer Leadership Training Camp, North American Livestock Market Meeting, and various state meetings they become involved in during the school year.
“There are not a lot of schools that have a school garden,” said FFA Officer Kenzie Crabtree. “And we have the best school garden in the state. It gives us healthy foods to eat and teaches us good work ethics.”
The corn and other vegetables being raised also helps feed students in the lunchrooms, once school is back in session.
“This saves the school a lot of money, as well as providing fresh produce in the cafeterias,” explained FFA Student Advisor Miles Gregory. Gregory and fellow students were busy laying down fabrics to keep the weeds from evading the melon patch and installing metal posts so they could tie tomato plants to them as they grow.
Miles said, “Being in FFA has helped me with the business end of agriculture. For instance, I sold FFA Calendar advertisements and was able to meet some of the business owners.
The students said they are growing tomatoes, corn, eggplant, potatoes, watermelons, squash, peppers, cucumbers, and pumpkins this season. The colder weather plants like broccoli and cauliflower will come later in the growing season.
FFA Senior Vice President Madison Butler was happy to be working in the school garden recently. “I wanted to help out and put my time in.” She started out her freshman year and knew very little about agriculture. “I just wanted to join a club.”
“Now I will have Mr. Horton for my fourth year and he has helped me a lot. I’ll be majoring in something within the field of Agriculture when I go to college. He pushed me to compete in FFA and as a result, I have come out of my comfort zone. I’ve come from being a quit freshman to being able to speak in front of over 70 people at our FFA meetings becoming the vice-president of the club. I’ve competed in dairy judging at WKU, Regional Speech Day for three years, and the Quiz Bowl at camp my Sophomore year.”
School sponsor Justin Horton, along with Agriculture Extension Agent Glen Roberts and Agriculture Specialist Terry Bertram have been very happy to see the student interest in the school garden as more and more students work the garden.
FFA students working in the garden
(L-R) Marianne Jones, Kason Stockton, McKenzie Crabtree, and Gracie Horton pinning weed suppresent fabric
(L-R) Madison Butler and Harley Hodge
(L-R) Matthew Eagleton, Kiley Jones, Tanner Morrow, Malachi Turpin, and Miles Gregory put post in the ground for the tomato plants
Miles Gregory uses the post hole digger
Fresh potatoes dug from the garden
Kason Stockton with a bucket full of freshly harvested potatoes
Kiley Jones digging potatoes
McKenzie Crabtree and Kiley Jones digging potatoes