Students Sow Seeds, Reap Credits
Dozens of Jordan School District students earned school credit during the summer for participating in the Supervised Agricultural Experience program. –Jordan School District.
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By Tori La Rue | email@example.com
“The benefits of the program aren’t just limited to agriculture,” Lambert, a senior at Herriman High School, said. “I broke out of my shell and met with different kids, and I developed myself in leadership and for career growth.”
The students in the summer agriculture program built their own 40-hour projects that coincided with ideals from the Future Farmers of America national organization. Lambert’s project was twofold: raising rabbits for breeding at her home and working at the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers South Campus’ greenhouse and garden.
Alisha Neil, science teacher at Herriman High School, said the greenhouse and garden made the summer program more accessible to students and provided a better turnout. She has been overseeing summer agriculture projects for the past six years, but this was her first year working with students at the academy, as last year was the first year of the south campus’ institution.
“Before, only students who were showing horses or who had farms were more able to do the summer program, but this new space has allowed us to reach out to students without space or money necessary to start those projects,” she said. “It’s been a nice benefit. I have 40 students as part of summer ag with 15 actively working out of the garden and greenhouse.”
Every high school and five middle schools within the district had students participating in the summer agriculture program at the academy, Neil said. The program allowed students to bond with students from other chapters of FFA, and it introduced incoming sophomores to the upper-classmen before school started, Lambert said.
Brett Milliken, landscape management teacher at the academy, secured a $2,500 Food For All grant from FFA to purchase the materials for the greenhouse and garden, so the program was free to all participants. FFA requires the food from the project be brought back into the community which the academy does by bringing the herbs and plants from the garden into the district’s school lunch program.
The academy’s greenhouse and gardens provided kale chips, radishes, turnips and peppers for West Jordan schools’ summer lunch programs. The gardens will continue to grow fresh produce for the schools when they are first in session.
Students dried herbs to give cafeteria workers spices to use all year long. One day, Lambert said she and one other students worked for three hours to prepare hundreds of herb bundles for drying. Another day Lambert said she was invited back to the academy’s “Taste of Ag Day” to learn how the herbs work within foods. Students made bread, butter and potatoes using garlic, rosemary and other herbs from their garden, she said.
“I think any students would think it was amazing,” Lambert said. “I would recommend the summer program to almost anyone because it intrigued my interest.”
The summer agricultural program is coming to a close, but Neil said there are many classes for FFA students at the high school in the district. Students wishing to get involved in agricultural studies may speak with their school’s FFA adviser or their academic counselor.