Progress 07/01/06 to 06/30/07
The progress on the Franklin County Career and Technology Center's Agricultural Resource Center has been slowed by speculation that the Chambersburg Area School District would purchase all or some of the land associated with project for building development. It appears imminent that Chambersburg Area School District will purchase up to 15 acres of land which partially will include our farm property. While the good news is that this will not terminate our project, it will require us to reexamine some of the proposed land use and move some of the activities to other parts of the property. However, much cleanup and creation of infrastructure has taken place on the farm property over the last year that has transformed what had been an eyesore into what appears to be a rather active farm. While much work is still needed, this progress alone stands out as an outstanding feat over the first year of the project. PRODUCTS: The major product of the project has been the productive use of land around our school that previously was overgrown with weeds. The area has been not only transformed into a productive learning environment but also beautified in appearance. Students have been exposed to learning related to biology, tree and forestation management and crop production as well as retail and wholesale trade which was otherwise unavailable. A new Veterinary Assistance Program is slated to start at our school in January, 2009 which has forged a partnership with the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter. This product of the grant will be beneficial to the community and students for many years to come. Our bio-diesel lab would also have to be considered an indirect product of the project. Although this activity was not originally planned in the grant submission, ideas and networking amongst instructors provided the seed idea of exploring alternative fuels within our curriculum. The ingredients needed for production of bio-diesel can be grown through this project and thus, has to be considered a product of this project. OUTCOMES: The outcome of the project will be a self-sustaining, operational farm that is run by the students. This school-based enterprise will give students a real life, hands-on experience in not only crop production and animal care but also in small business management. The goal of the activity will be for students to interface with vendors and/or adult associations involved in farm operation requiring them to act in a professional and capable manner with relations to business transactions. Further the project will continue to provide learning activities related to emerging technologies in agriculture providing students even more growth in the field prior to pursuing employment or post-graduate studies. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: The dissemination of information related to the project has mainly occurred through our six sending school districts in promoting the school and ag-related programs to students and participating school district personnel. Information regarding the project will also be included on our web site and is contained within literature of ag-related programs in our course catalog. Additionally, the AOR attended the PASA Conference in State College, PA in February, 2007 and the NACTE/NAAE Conference in Las Vegas, NV in December, 2007 in order to share ideas and network with other agricultural partners about the project. This acted as a means for dissemination of information related to the project htat otherwise would not have been available to the school. FUTURE INITIATIVES: The students will be building an irrigation system for the land plots that will be fed by a solar-powered pump situated in the Spring. Water will be pumped from the Spring on demand into the various plots of land providing a year round water supply that can be relied upon. Projects yet to be completed but planned include soybean switch grass planting to support our bio-diesel project and turf grass production in support of landscaping instruction. In addition, planned use of the farm has been expressed by home school agricultural science programs which will provide the opportunity to continue growing the project beyond the original thought of the grant. As Franklin CTC becomes a comprehensive school offering a full scope of academic coursework, the land provides even more promise for hands-on, integrated activities between academics and career and technical studies.
The major impact of the project would be for information to get out to the participating school district agriculture programs and to the community to such an extent that the farm becomes an educational resource to all entities associated with the Franklin County Career and Technology Center. An impact has to be related to the satisfaction of local workplace needs through student participation and learning on the project. Additionally, the project serves as resource for community organizations such as Green Thumb, FFA, Coop Extension and the Young Adult Farmers Association in that they can participate in activities and production on the land such as test trials that can benefit learning and research in agriculture.
- No publications reported this period