Federal grant for highschool farmland – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate

FRANKLIN, Ind. (Inside Business) – An agriculture program at Franklin Community North High School has received a federal boost. Our partners in the Journal report that the school received a farm-to-school grant of more than $ 72,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand the farm-to-table program.

The farming program began in 2019 and has turned an empty lot north of the high school into a nine-acre garden that grows fruit and vegetables that are served in the school’s cafeteria. The program currently includes approximately 220 students, including some from Franklin Community Middle School.

The USDA funding will be used to hire a part-time coordinator to manage the garden and oversee the transportation of to the school canteen, according to the publication. It also covers the cost of additional equipment and training for the cafeteria staff, as well as an aquaponics system and tire house.

Alicia Geesey, an agriculture teacher at the school, tells the publication that the fruits and vegetables grown in the garden include blackberries, raspberries, peppers, tomatoes, corn, squash, and pumpkins. Apple trees are also planted on the site.

The school started serving vegetables grown in the garden last spring. Officials tell Journal students that starting next spring they will be able to eat farm-raised chickens, which is the first protein to come off the program.

Geesey says if the school can raise enough money, a barn could be built that will contain a classroom, laboratory, and space for chickens and cattle.

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