BCMS ag program receives grant from Kentucky FFA Foundation

Published 11:10 am Friday, April 30, 2021

News release

The Kentucky FFA Foundation has awarded the agriculture program at Boyle County Middle School a $2,000 Ag Achiever grant to help them establish raised garden beds that will be used as an outdoor learning lab.

This opportunity is something agriculture teacher MacKenzie Jones sees her students, and the entire school, getting really excited about.

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The beds are in the process of being constructed, but her students are already learning a lot, just through that process. 

“My students figured out the design for the beds, and they have gone out and marked off the ground,” she said. “They are learning a lot of really useful things already, like how to use a tape measure, and how to make things square.”

Jones is partnering with the agriculture program at the high school on the garden project. She will be visiting the high school greenhouse with her students in coming weeks so they can pick out bedding plants to go in the new garden. Next year, students in the high school agriculture program’s garden club will act as mentors to students in Jones’ program as they grow their plants.

“One of the many things that makes agricultural education and FFA so special is that it’s all about learning by doing,” said Sheldon McKinney, executive director of the Kentucky FFA Foundation. “Ag Achiever grants provide funds to make sure local programs have the best, most innovative technology to engage their students.”

Jones says everything produced in the garden will be used in the county’s backpack program, which sends food home with students who may be food insecure. In doing so, her students will learn not only how to be good horticulturists, but good community members.

Funding for Ag Achiever grants comes from the $10 donations farm license-plate holders can choose to give when they renew their tags, as well as from a generous donation by Universal Leaf.

“Children are the future of agriculture, and by partnering with programs such as Kentucky FFA’s Ag Achiever Grant, we are all working towards the common goal of developing strong leaders who will understand the importance of agriculture and its role in the global economy,” said Lindsay Efird, Universal Leaf representative.

Once established, Boyle County Middle School’s garden will be an ongoing project for years to come.

“When we give funds to an agricultural education program, it doesn’t just impact a handful of students,” said McKinney. “Hundreds of students a day pass through ag ed classrooms and every year, you get new students! Its impact is tremendous.”

The Kentucky FFA Foundation cultivates partnerships which support the FFA vision to grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture. Kentucky FFA Foundation initiatives impact more than 14,000 FFA members in 158 FFA chapters across Kentucky.