The ag students have teamed up with the Life Skills and transition program to create a garden in the new courtyard at Princeton High School.
The project to create raised flower and vegetable beds was made possible through “Grants for Growing” funded by Tractor Supply Company.
Virginia Nix with Princeton’s Tractor Supply was at PHS last Friday to present a check to students in the horticulture, life skills and transition classes to begin the joint effort.
“We plan to take on this project hand in hand,” said ag teacher Tim Johnson. “It will involve my horticulture students working side by side with the kids from the Life Skills program.”
Transition program coordinator Jill Peters said she saw something special when her PHS students visited an organic farm in Anna.
“We were there to help the kids understand the importance of plant life,” Peters said. “For our lessons on science, it’s best when they can experience something. These kids love to care for things. So they really connect with plant life and animal life.”
Both Peters and Johnson said it was an obvious choice to team their students together to begin raising flowers and vegetables as an ongoing life lesson.
“This will be a great project to bridge the kids together,” Peters said. “It will include all the students coming together.”
To get the ball rolling, or the plants growing, one of the raised beds is already completed, and plans are underway to construct more.
“We are now in the phase to acquire planting materials,” Johnson said. “We want this experience to begin before school ends so we are ready to go again when the students come back in the fall.”
Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the U.S., awarded 271 grants to FFA chapters with a record total of $830,000 to impact more than 30,000 students this spring.
According to Tractor Supply executives, there were nearly 600 applications from FFA chapters across the country detailing how they would start or expand a unique and sustainable project funded by customers of Tractor Supply through “Grants for Growing.”
“An investment in agricultural education is an investment in the agriculture leaders of tomorrow,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing for Tractor Supply. “Grants for Growing is one of our key donation sponsorships that allows us to foster students’ growth by giving educators the resources they need to make our communities stronger, more sustainable places.”
According to Johnson, the raised beds are just a start for the partnership between FFA, Life Skills and Tractor Supply.
“I could really see this taking off in the future,” he said. “We could expand this effort beyond beds into a viable, full working garden in the grassy area by the current greenhouse. The possibilities are endless.”
By Jean Ann Collins • PISD Communications Coordinator • [email protected]