POINT PLEASANT — The warm March temperatures have unofficially ushered in spring for many, including students at Point Pleasant Intermediate School, with the help of FFA members from the Mason County Career Center.
This spring, FFA members and PPIS students will be planting a community garden on the school’s property. Some of the supplies for this project will be purchased by Ohio Valley Bank, the school’s partner in education.
Sam Nibert, an FFA advisor and instructor at the career center, said the garden will be about one-quarter acre and include potatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries and pumpkins. Nibert said the plan is, his FFA students and kids from the intermediate school will all work together to plant the garden, with FFA students, Nibert and FFA advisor Timothy Kidwell keeping up with garden maintenance in the summer. Then, this fall, a “farm-to-school day” will be planned where the food grown in the garden will be harvested and fed to students.
Nibert said this project not only stresses healthy nutrition, but helps grow healthy relationships between PPIS students and FFA members who will also serve as mentors. Nibert said the program also educates young students on agriculture and its impact in the area.
This is the first project of its kind for both the FFA members and the kids at PPIS.
“It’s good for the kids and they get to learn where their food comes from and how much work it takes,” Erin Kidwell, president of the local FFA chapter said.
FFA Vice President Kaitlyn Dunn agreed, saying the community garden is a way to introduce students to agriculture at an early age.
Of course, good ideas need support and Ohio Valley Bank has stepped in to provide some financial backing for the project.
“It’s a worthwhile program and we’re happy to be a part of it,” Mario Liberatore of OVB said. “I’m excited to see the kids develop the garden and watch it grow. It’s great the kids will be interacting with the agriculture program here.”
FFA instructors and members are a vital part of that agriculture program at the career center.
MCCC Principal Cheryl Moore said she was proud of her FFA kids for reaching out and making the connection with PPIS to encourage participation in the school’s agriculture program.
Walter Raynes, principal at PPIS, said he sees the community garden as a learning opportunity for a student body comprised of children who mostly live in town, as opposed to on farms.
“Oftentimes, they don’t get an opportunity to partner in gardening and to see how food and crops are grown. They have an opportunity here to see how food is planted, cultivated, harvested and it’s a great opportunity to incorporate science and math,” Raynes said about the added, educational benefits which will hopefully be harvested at some point in the near future.
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