Young Gardeners Bloom at McKinney Elementary

McKinney Elementary (Hillsboro, Oregon) is making use of a Farm to School Grant from the Oregon Department of Education to incorporate agriculture across their curriculum. Partnering with Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom, committed community members such as Debi Lorence, and many local environmental education organizations, McKinney has used the funding to re-establish their school garden, and to hire a school garden coordinator. Six months into her position, McKinney’s coordinator (Megan Kupko) has this advice for fellow school garden educators. “Take things slow, observe and interact with the land, students, teachers and parents and allow relationships to develop. But don’t be afraid to get outside and try new things!”

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Compost Is for Everyone!

I’d like to be able to tell you that my love of worms is purely academic. They are, after all, an excellent addition to any garden. They aerate the soil, which makes plant roots happy, and their waste—referred to in the worm lover community as castings—restores essential nutrients to the soil, vastly improving the yield of your garden. The truth of the matter is...

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Experience Oregon Agriculture

I am thankful to live in the beautiful state of Oregon, where I can explore the outdoors, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and appreciate the variety of food we have available. Although I never grew up on a farm, I had the opportunity to live a country lifestyle, raising animals and working on farms during the summer months. I was surrounded by agriculture in our small town and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Bulb Forcing

My mother loves tulips. She is as faithful to this bloom as the pickiest of pollinators. Even in spring, when tulips are plentiful at the farmers market and grocery store, she will drive the extra 45 minutes to a tulip farm—just for the added choice. Only yesterday over dinner, I noticed a bouquet of deep purple tulips on her windowsill, set against the backdrop of a rainy January evening. I love tulips because my mother loves tulips, and because of the the color they bring to an otherwise typical gray Portland day. In winter, these flowers bring with them a foreshadowing of spring, and can warm the people sitting around a kitchen table. Tulips, and other bulbs, can do the same thing for a classroom.

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Making a Mark on the Future of Agricultural Education

As a sophomore in high school, I was more than hesitant to become an FFA member – after all, I didn’t have livestock, didn’t live on a farm, and I sure didn’t know the first thing about parliamentary procedure. After some constant hounding from a few older members, I reluctantly paid my dues and became an FFA member, having no idea of how the FFA would impact me for the rest of my life.

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The 6 F’s of Oregon Agriculture

When you hear the word agriculture, what comes to mind? Is it an older man in a straw hat and overalls? Is it a big red barn amidst a sweeping rural landscape? Or is it the Ram Truck commercial commemorating Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” poem that aired during the fourth quarter of the 2013 Super Bowl?

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Oregon’s Bountiful Harvest

For people all over the word, the end of harvest is a time to celebrate work completed and enjoy the bounty of the year. Although harvest festivals and traditions differ between cultures, the theme of celebration and gratitude is a common component. In the United States, many people celebrate this season by celebrating Thanksgiving. Usually celebrated by the preparation of a special Thanksgiving meal, it’s a time to reflect on the year and share with family and friends. Most Thanksgiving traditions include a colorful feast cascading across the table.

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Falling into the Pumpkin Patch

Every young person should have the opportunity to experience a pumpkin patch by taking a class field trip. Pumpkin patches ooze fun, but they also burst with opportunities to teach. A trip to the pumpkin patch allows teachers to enrich the minds of their students while giving them a hands on learning experience.

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