What if you went to the grocery store and there was no food available? You’d undoubtedly wonder why.
Because access to food is so easy for shoppers and available at so many venues, the heart of our country’s food is very often overlooked. That heart is agriculture, which is so often mostly forgotten and taken for granted.
Members of the Minford Future Farmers of America (FFA) want to change that perception.
That’s why they celebrated National FFA Week, February 17-24.
FFA Week embraces more than 90 years of FFA traditions while looking to the organization’s future. Minford FFA was reinstated in 2014, thanks to the Scioto County Career Technical Center offering satellite agriculture teachers for schools that were interested in having an agriculture program. Now, due to Minford’s willingness to give it a try and the CTC school providing many resources and educators, there are 85 students enrolled in three junior high and senior school courses. Nationwide, there are more than 653,000 members participating in National FFA Week activities at local, state and national levels.
Designated a national week in 1947, the week of George Washington’s birthday, National FFA Week runs from Saturday to Saturday and gives FFA members an opportunity to educate the public about agriculture. During the week, chapters conduct a variety of activities to help others in their school and community learn about FFA and agricultural education.
Minford FFA provided treats to the Minford and Scioto County Career Technical Center staff, broadcasted live on Minford’s news page as well as their FFA page to talk about what FFA week is and the importance of agriculture education, and provided daily Ohio ag facts to the school each day of FFA Week.
“The high school and junior high students are both going to be doing different FFA activities,” Kristen Stringer, agriculture teacher at Minford and the Scioto County Career and Technical Center, said as she looked ahead to the week. “We are going to have an ag escape room within the classroom; do some leadership activities, kind of like a quiz bowl of FFA history and facts; and then we’re providing doughnuts and cookies for the vocational school staff and the middle school and high school staff at Minford. We actually dropped those off [Monday].
“Some of the high school officers are going to go down to the middle school and tell them a little about what FFA is like at the high school level, because they are only in class in the middle school for a semester,” she adds.
One day this week, MHS assistant principal Tate Skinner will do a live video with the FFA members, and help the students “tell the Facebook world about FFA. The kids can kinda chime in and ask questions, and all the kids that comment or ask questions will be entered in a drawing for a $25 Walmart gift card.”
Stringer says a stage is planned for Thursday to offer agriculture trivia to students as they arrive at school. If the students answer the agriculture questions correctly, they receive a cookie. “This is to get the whole school involved.”
Today’s FFA members are the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural and hands-on learning, they are preparing for 255 unique career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industry. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 653,000 student members, who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.
Minford FFA is looking for supporters of the FFA program and agriculture industry that are interested in joining the local alumni chapter. Those interested do not have to be a past FFA member to be part of the alumni chapter, they must only have a passion for helping students excel in developing leadership skills and gaining knowledge about the backbone of America and the industry which feeds the nation. For those wanting to join the alumni chapter, an informational meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Ag room at Minford High School. Should you be unable to attend, email Stringer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In southern Ohio and northern Kentucky, farming and open markets where local people bring their own goods to share are still prevelant. Too often people across the country never have the opportunity to view this type of agriculture in their lives, and that’s one reason FFA is bringing attention to an industry many view as no longer worth their time.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins at 740-353-3101 ext. 1928