FFA program gives back to the community

Oley Valley School District  |  Posted on

From Garden to Plate

Since 1932, Oley Valley Future Farmers of America (FFA) has been working hard to propose new ideas to make its program the most successful it can possibly be. Now integrating more agriculture classes into Oley Valley High School’s curriculum, the FFA chapter has been able to homogenize learning with giving back to the community. For the past several years, the FFA chapter and plant science classes have been working hard to plant, raise and harvest a multitude of vegetables using raised beds, gardens and the hydroponics system. A vast majority of the food is donated, the lettuce from the hydroponics system goes directly to the school’s cafeteria to be incorporated into the student’s lunch. FFA members and the food science class are able to prepare tomatoes, string beans, peppers and a large amount of other vegetables by washing, cutting if necessary, blanching and vacuum sealing. The food packages are then labeled and donated to the food bank by the chapter. Students are also given the opportunity to make apple cider, an additional hands-on learning experience in the curriculum. They first learn about the process it takes to create the beverage before performing the lab. Following all safety precautions, the students cut, crush, pasteurize and bottle the cider over the course of several days. Each student is then permitted to take a sample of the cider home to enjoy with his or her family over holiday break. The remaining cider is given to the food bank for others to indulge in. Throughout several years, the Oley Valley FFA has been preaching involvement in the community. Donating produce to the food bank and making apple cider are only two of the very many ways to achieve that goal.