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PO BOX F | 4238 State Highway 8
New Berlin, NY 13411
P: 607.847.7500
F: 607.847.9194
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School garden update
In 2012 the UV agriculture classes and FFA were awarded a start-up grant to institute a Rural Youth Development project by the USDA and the National FFA. We used the funds to build a school garden to produce fresh vegetables for use in the school cafeteria and to encourage students and their families to make healthier food choices.

In 2013 UV was awarded a continuing grant through the same program to continue the garden and expand the program through educational programs at school on growing
your own food and buying local. This year we received a third and final grant to continue the program and expand our educational program to the surrounding communities with community presentations and develop a food science class to learn more about our food.

UV agriculture students have developed and have been caring for our school garden for three years. We have a 12 raised bed garden on the south east corner of the building that is planted every spring with seeds and starter plants for use at the school and in the community.

Bonnie Plant farm has been very generous to donate starter plants for the past two years. Other donations came from Tamarack Hill Trucking, Conklin Excavating, and Dr. Shemirhorn, DDS.

We provide kale, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, summer squash, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, salad greens, tons of green peppers and some butternut squash. A lot of it is flash-frozen by the cafeteria for use in the fall. If the greenhouse was available to us all year we could do more, possibly offering more fresh greens throughout the majority of the school year; other local schools are already doing this. We are applying for a greenhouse grant through Cornell University and Agriculture in the Classroom to build a new high tunnel greenhouse to extend our growing season. In the past two years Kip Cruz, our cafeteria chef, made some amazing soups with the squash and other vegetables, as well as serving the vegetables during NYS Harvest Week in September. In the past two years the FFA members and Junior Honor Society members, volunteering to earn community service hours, have harvested the produce for use in school meals. This year we also used the produce in Karen Ramirez’s Home and Career classes and a bunch of the carrots were used for the juice entrepreneurial project for 7th grade Home and Careers and Technology classes. If students and their families come and work and pull weeds in the garden in the summer, they are allowed to take produce to use at their homes.

We ask that school and community members who work in the garden sign in on the purple podium at the entrance to the garden. In the first year we invited elementary classes to help
us plant and care for the garden; we had two classes participate. We would like to initiate an Adopt a Bed program this year to encourage more involvement from the elementary students. Elementary classrooms can adopt a bed and care for that bed throughout the spring, summer and fall. One of our goals this summer is to donate some fresh produce
to the local food bank. One of the requirements of the grant is reporting to the USDA and the National FFA. In 2012, two UVFFA members traveled to National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana to be interviewed by the USDA and participate in a Rural Youth Development debriefing.

In October 2014, four students will attend National FFA Convention to be part of the close-out session for this grant and be part of a national brainstorming group
to develop standards for further grant ideas.

Community members interested in learning more about our program please contact
the FFA, at 847-7500, ext. 2121.
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