HOUSTON — A check for $25,000 was presented to Hardin-Houston Local Schools on Friday.
Hardin-Houston was a grant recipient for the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The money will be used to fund half of a brand-new greenhouse behind the school.
Every year, this program gives $2.3 million to deserving school districts to help promote their math and science curriculum’s.
Since 2011, when the fund started, it has been able to award $9 million to further education.
Back in January, the group asked local farmers across the nation to nominate their local high schools for the grants. The farmers, community, teachers and administrators got together to work on a grant proposal.
Derek McCracken, FFA adviser, and animal and plant science teacher, explained how the greenhouse will be used to get a more hands-on learning experience.
“You can learn about plants, you can learn about how they grow, crops … vegetables, produce, but to be able to grow it yourself you can learn a lot more than you can learn from a book, worksheet or a small lab,” McCracken said.
“We really want it to be a learning laboratory where students can go out there, utilize it and really be able to learn things that are applicable, relevant and actual real-world experiences, not something that’s just theory,” he said.
“It’s a great way for them to do all those things and learn the business side of running a sale. Starting in the spring of next school year, students will start planning and doing everything. It’ll become sort of a small business, and they’ll use that money to pay for things like going to conventions, camps, and different leadership conferences,” McCracken said.
“There’s a lot of programs, and schools around Shelby County that have greenhouses, and they make quite a bit of money off of it. The students learn different kinds of careers that are out there that have to do with. When most people think of agriculture, they think of farming, but to know there are so many other careers out there than just farming, I like that this kind of exposes them to those careers within plant science as well,” McCracken said.
The grant will be paying for half of the greenhouse, with the Hardin-Houston Board of Education funding the rest. Construction will begin in the spring and it will be ready for use for the 2016-2017 school year.
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