Warren County students move Farm to Table program into Phase II

Students take pride in growing fruits and vegetables as Farm to Table program expands in Warren County.

WARRENTON, Ga. (WJBF) – Students in one CSRA district have a few tomatoes, strawberries and cucumbers to add to English, Math and Reading.

About a year ago, NewsChannel 6 was invited to Warren County High School to check out a new Farm to Table program. We saw the seeds go in the ground and we were there for the harvest. Now, the farm is growing.

Mikel Wilburn, a junior at the school, shared what he remembers about the first few days.

“Quails. We had quails in here,” he told us.

A group of elementary school students toured the greenhouse first where Phase one kicked of in March of 2016.

One student yelled, “A big strawberry!”

From poultry to produce, Warren County High School students are getting the full agricultural experience.

“I think this is squash,” one younger student shared before pointing.

CTAE Director Scott Richardson launched the school’s Farm to Table program in 2016.  He told us then he incorporates teaching plant, food and life sciences as well as nutrition hands on.

Wilburn is FFA president and he said he is proud of what he and his classmates accomplished.

“Salad was good,” he said of the harvest from Phase I. “Everybody enjoyed it and cafeteria ladies, the lunch ladies loved us coming to the lunchroom taking cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes for the salads.”

Phase 2 has now been launched and it includes farming area outside of the schools two greenhouses. There is now a wooden gate enclosing the area.  Crops include more vegetables and fruits.

Wilburn added the school work also helps FFA.

“We have certain kinds of degrees that you have to earn. We have to do SAEs. That’s Supervised Agricultural Experience. Adults have to experience that so this can be part of one of our SAEs while the teacher is watching everyone plant,” he explained.

Trevor Roberson is the school’s principal.  He said Wilburn is right.

“FFA was on a hiatus here for a few years and we’re trying to get it reestablished and he’s right that there are certain service projects that they can do to earn points for FFA,” he said. “They’re supposed to earn a certain amount of money also as just a way of showing their leadership and also their stewardship.”

Several entities are part of the nearly $10,000 grant that made Phase II happen.  Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, The Whole Kids Foundation, The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, and business partners like Hoover Treated Wood Products and Martin Marietta all helped make the students’ experience a success.

Richardson shared, “The school gardens in Warren County have produced 1600 salads this year for our students, 100 lbs of tomatoes, 200 lbs of cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli beans, squash, onions, radishes, and fresh herbs.  This year, students of Warren County have consumed in their school lunches at least one ingredient grown in the school garden at lest three times a week.”

The students are pleased and Wilburn told us it’s a step toward his future in agriculture business.

“Try to run some kind of poultry business. Poultry is a big industry, especially in the state of Georgia, one of the top three commodities.”

Principal Roberson said the school may be getting a landscaping program soon to add to the other agricultural sciences taught now.

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