Agricultural schooling is growing in Anne Arundel County, lecturers and college students inform the Board of Education.
The plant and animal agriculture program at Southern High School expects to double its enrollment to 30 subsequent faculty 12 months, and the system is adding a natural resources possibility on the Centers for Applied Technology North within the 2023-2024 faculty 12 months, pending approval by the state.
Anne Arundel County has a historical past of agriculture, although farms have disappeared from the panorama in latest many years to make approach for residential improvement.
Crop manufacturing has shifted from tobacco to quite a lot of grains and plant nurseries, based on Michelle Batten, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. There are 390 registered farms within the county immediately, she stated, and the college system has labored with these native farmers to teach the subsequent crop of meals producers.
At the Phoenix Academy in Annapolis college students within the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education program, or CASE, use hydroponic gardening to develop greens which are utilized by college students within the faculty’s culinary program to create restaurant-worthy dishes.
At Southern High School there’s a faculty backyard the place college students develop produce to promote on the Anne Arundel County Farmer’s Market. Last week college students obtained a cargo of child chickens, which they are going to develop this spring and promote for meat.
Stacy Eckels leads this system at Southern. She is a farmer who sells mushrooms on the Arundel market, and she or he shares her sales space area with college students.
The college students are sometimes in search of particular coaching that can put together them for postsecondary schooling, or for a selected certification wanted for his or her farm work. The agriculture applications comply with requirements set by the National Council for Agricultural Education.
“We scaffold our instruction to meet the needs of students seeking state certifications entering the agricultural workforce or seeking postsecondary education. We build their foundation and their confidence through hands-on projects and experiential learning,” Eckels stated.
Students in this system advised the board on Wednesday they want to see the curriculum at Southern High turn into a magnet program that college students from colleges corresponding to Broadneck or South River excessive colleges can attend. Student Ethan Scofield stated he personally is aware of some individuals who would enroll.
During his freshman 12 months at Southern, Scofield had an unfavorable disciplinary file and was undecided the place his life was going, he stated.
“Now my future is college. My future is something to be proud of, because of the moments I have experienced and lived through the CASE program, through the [Future Farmers of America] organization, through the family it has provided outside of my own household,” he stated.
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Members of the Southern High School FFA group traveled to Kentucky just lately to assist clear up farms in a group hit by a twister, in addition to elevating greater than $40,000 for these effected, Scofield stated.
If authorized by the state, the natural resources branch of agricultural schooling at CAT North can be out there to college students at seven excessive colleges.
Scofield stated college students in colleges within the southern a part of the county want to see an analogous magnet-style program, which college students from a number of excessive colleges can attend.
“I just wish everybody had that opportunity to grow in a field they want to be in,” Scofield stated.
The natural resources program will exchange an setting useful resource administration program at CAT North.
Several board members expressed curiosity in making a magnet program for agriculture for county college students, together with District 7 faculty board consultant Michelle Corkadel, who put the agricultural dialog on the agenda. She stated whereas farmland within the county continues to show over to different makes use of, its significance has solely elevated.
“Those numbers continue to go down but the necessity and the value it has, I think, gone up,” she stated. “I believe that our school system should be always supporting the local economy, the local infrastructure and the local community, and I think this hits every single bell and whistle on there.”