FFA's School Garden

Tim and Pam Uhlenkamp
MFBF YF&R Committee Members

Six years ago, the Sibley East Agriculture Department along with the superintendent had an idea to have a school garden and also participate in the Farm to School program. They took it a step further and decided to have the school be the farm and the school program involved. They started with a small city plot that grew a great amount of vegetables for the school. They decided if they were going to make it work, they needed a bigger plot – and an advisory board member donated a 2.5 acre plot for the ag department to use.

The innovative part about the Sibley East school garden, when compared to other school gardens, is that a large percentage of the produce goes directly into the school lunch program. Thanks to the cooks and a summer food program, Sibley East schools is able to freeze a large amount of produce to use in the food program all school year long. Along with the school lunch program, the garden also has 30 CSA (community supported agriculture) shares, 10 CSA shares that go to the county food shelf, and a high tunnel and a small orchard that contains 40 grape vines and 50 apple trees.

The county food shelf program has taken off the last two years due to partnerships with the local
civic organizations and our county nutrition program and educational sessions.

The school Agriculture Department hires six students to oversee and run the garden and coordinate the CSA program and its customers. It is through this opportunity that five FFA members have received their State FFA Degrees in the past three years.