Posts Tagged ‘Education’

FFA Friday: Louisiana

Friday, October 10th, 2014
Ponchatoula FFA Takes First Place Award Honors, Central LaFourche FFA Wins Second, and St. Amante FFA Wins Third Place Happy FFA Friday! Louisiana had six participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow Program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Ponchatoula FFA, Central LaFourche FFA, and St. Amante FFA. Ponchatoula FFA won first place by creating and presenting exhibits for community events. The chapter presented fertilizer and planting demonstrations for strawberries to over 10,000 visitors at their town’s annual Strawberry Festival. The chapter also volunteered at a local organization for people with disabilities, helping them evaluate thefertilizer needs for the soil in their  raised bed gardens. Central LaFourche FFA won second place for their nutrient lessons for fourth and fifth grade students. The chapter split into teams of two and visited classrooms demonstrating the soil components, they discussed which nutrients are required to help plants grow, and raised awareness of coastal erosion. They used the Nutrients for Life curriculum to design experiments for the students, including a bean plant and soil layers experiment. The St. Amante FFA chapter won third place for developing hands-on workshops for elementary school students. The workshops focused on plant development, soil testing, planting vegetables, and how to apply fertilizer to gardens. They also taught the students how to track how fertilizer increases plant production. Congratulations to all the chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Louisiana is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, PotashCorp. FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at here.

FFA Friday: Kansas

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Inman FFA Takes First Place Award Honors; Clay Center FFA Wins Second, and Ellsworth FFA Wins Third Place Welcome back to FFA Friday! Kansas had nine participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow Program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Inman FFA, Clay Center FFA, and Ellsworth FFA. Inman FFA took top honors by partnering with their local schools and community members. All 84 chapter members helped to increase the size of their local garden and produced four videos played on their local television channel. The chapter also visited elementary and middle school classrooms to teach lessons about healthy lifestyles and growing plants. Clay Center FFA won second place by partnering with the local school district and Wilbur-Ellis representative. The chapter participated in Farm Safety day and GROW IT. GROW IT included four stations focusing on information from the Nutrients for Life curriculum. Ellsworth FFA won third place by creating plant science lessons for elementary school students. The chapter also created a coloring contest for the students. The coloring sheets featured facts about plants and agriculture. Congratulations to all of the chapters that participated!  The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Kansas is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, Koch Ag and Energy Services, LLC.  FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found here.

FFA Friday: Illinois

Friday, September 19th, 2014
Prairie Central FFA Takes First Place Award Honors;  Cuba FFA Wins Second, and Maroa Forsyth FFA Wins Third Place Welcome back to FFA Friday! Illinois had 22 participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Prairie Central FFA, Cuba FFA, and Maroa Forsyth FFA. Prairie Central FFA won first place for a three part project including an elementary educational program, an informative breakfast for students and staff, and a community booth titled “Harvesting Hope.” The educational program taught elementary school students about the role of fertilizer in growing plants. The breakfast highlighted the farmer’s role in feeding the world. The community booth had games and handouts for all aged showing the positive aspects of fertilizer and maintaining a food supply. Cuba FFA won second place by leading various activities throughout the year. In the fall, younger FFA members grew a 1,800 square foot garden and older members grew 200 acres of corn and soybeans. In the springtime, members gave back to their community by planting flowers in planting beds. Third place goes to Maroa Forsyth FFA for growing plants in their greenhouse and hydroponic system. With their new knowledge, members taught fourth through tenth graders about soil and fertilizer. Congratulations to all of the Illinois chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Arizona is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, CF Industries.  FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/helpingcommunitiesgrow.

FFA Friday: Idaho

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Another FFA Friday post!  Idaho had eleven participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Salmon FFA, Hansen FFA, and Genesee FFA. (more…)

FFA Friday: Florida

Friday, September 5th, 2014
Happy FFA Friday! Florida had sixteen participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow Program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Lincoln Middle FFA, Fort White FFA, and Hamilton County FFA. The Lincoln Middle FFA took top honors for a project addressing the issues in food availability, quality, and stability. The chapter gave presentations to the community about growing fresh produce in small spaces and the importance of fertilizer. Fort White FFA won second place for educational presentations about the importance of plant nutrients in the production of food in their very own back yard. The chapter was able to donate 590 pounds of mustard greens to two charities, serving over 190 families. Hamilton County FFA took third place for research on different aquatic plants and the plants ability to removed nutrients and improve water quality. They learned that nutrients the aquatic plants drew in from the water made the plants grow quickly and also cleaned the water. Congratulations to all of the Florida chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Florida is supported by the program’s founding sponsor Agrium Inc. FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/helpingcommunitiesgrow.

FFA Friday: Colorado

Friday, August 29th, 2014
Today we have another FFA Friday post spotlighting great projects from the state of Colorado. The Helping Communities Grow program in Colorado had six participating FFA chapters this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Plateau Valley FFA, Boulder Career and Technical Education Center FFA and Fort Morgan FFA! (more…)

FFA Friday: California

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Welcome back for another FFA Friday Post! The 2013-2014 Helping Communities Grow program in California had eleven participating FFA chapters. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Hughson FFA, Liberty Ranch FFA and Healdsburg FFA! (more…)

USA Science and Engineering Festival

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
Recently, the Nutrients for Life Foundation participated in the third annual USA Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF).The event has taken place in Washington, D.C. for the past 4 years and is the largest science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) event in the United States. (more…)

School Garden Spotlight: Tony Jensen

Monday, March 24th, 2014
Mr. Jensen, agriculture teacher in Nebraska, has always spent a lot of time outside.  From landscaping with his wife to activities like hiking and camping, he knows the value of getting some fresh air.  Now, with the creation of a growing dome, his students are able to connect with nature while at school!  The garden is almost a year old and has already had two successful seasons of growing vegetables.  Below, Mr. Jensen shares the challenges and opportunities of creating a school garden. Name: Tony Jensen School: Freeman Public School County, State: Gage County, Nebraska Grade, Class: 7-12th Grade Agriculture   Tell us about your background with soil science, nutrients, and gardening. I have always enjoyed being outdoors doing activities like fishing, hiking, and camping.  My wife has a horticulture background so our family spends a lot of time in the garden and working on landscaping around our home and community. Why did you decide to start a school garden? We constructed a growing dome greenhouse in May 2013 and are using the raised beds inside the growing dome to grow vegetables year-round.  We then donate our harvests to local food banks and pantries to provide for our neighbors in need. To me, there are many teachable moments that come from this facility.  We can teach about crop production, soil science, renewable energy, healthy eating, food safety, and service to others through hands-on activities. What were the first steps in making the growing dome a reality?  We researched a feasible option for a greenhouse structure that would meet the needs of our school, we set goals for our project, and then began raising funds for the structure. What did you grow and how did you choose that plant?  The first year, we decided to experiment with a variety of different vegetables to…

Nutrients in the Garden 6: Get Acquainted With Your Soil

Monday, March 10th, 2014
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “He who plants a garden plants happiness.” I could not agree more. If you have been following the blog from the beginning of this series, you are four steps closer to planting happiness. You have decided why you want to garden, you know where to put your garden, you know what you want to plant, and you have a map of your plan!   Now, we talk about the most important ingredient to your gardening success: soil! Side note: I prefer not to call it dirt. Dirt is the stuff I tell my kids to wipe off their feet before coming into the house. Soil is where our food comes from. Without soil, we are naked and hungry. Soil is cultivated by hard working farmers that keep us fed and clothed. It is critical to our mortality; out of respect for this precious resource, I prefer to call it soil. This is where you want to get it right! With the wrong soil, your garden will struggle and you might consider throwing in the trowel and giving up. Simply put, poor soil = poor garden. We can prevent this by doing our homework now, while it’s still too cold to garden. There are over 70,000 types of soil and they are not all created equally; some soils are more plant friendly than others. Soils can have too much clay, be too sandy, too compacted, too acidic... the list goes on, but don’t worry, soil can be improved! Keep in mind that if you are dealing with a dire soil situation, sometimes it is easier to garden in pots or a raised bed, because you have total control over the type of soil you use. If you choose to garden the traditional way, cultivating a spot in…

Foundation 101: What is the Nutrients for Life Foundation?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014
I often get asked, “What does the Nutrients for Life Foundation do?” My standard response goes something like this, “Since 2004, we have been providing science-based information to educate people about the valuable role fertilizers play in feeding our growing world.” I follow up with how much I love my job and how fulfilling it is to work in the one industry our world cannot live without, agriculture.  Our role at the Foundation is to educate others about agriculture and, specifically, how crop nutrients help increase our food supply by fifty percent. We have a big task, because the general public knows very little about the industry as documented in the following video.   http://youtu.be/mldl5Iyw_gU   Every time I play this video I get a few good laughs from the crowd, especially if they know a lot about agriculture. I realize there are some extreme examples in this video, but in reality, most consumers know very little about food production. Consumers lack basic scientific knowledge as it applies to agriculture. In the video they are talking about nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; all three are elements on the periodic table. After 6th grade science, we should all recognize these basic elements. Why were the interviewees confused? Where does the confusion come from? Was it because they didn’t have a good scientific background in school? Or, perhaps, they haven’t learned to think critically about what they learned? I share this video, first, because it is eye opening, but secondly because it shows that we need more agriculture educators. At no other time in history has my job, as an agriculture educator, been more critical. I believe our biggest challenge isn’t feeding the world’s population, rather, educating them on HOW we are feeding them. In our efforts to educate, the Foundation has a…