On Tuesday the FFA department built and delivered planter beds to the Lillie Russell Memorial Library. The students built the beds for agricultural outreach and a community service project.
“A goal of our FFA chapter this year is to increase our community service,” Bacon said. “‘Living to Serve’ is the last line of the FFA motto, and Lindale FFA is fully embracing that principle this year.”
The more experienced students that already have at least one year of agriculture classes participated in this project. First year FFA members, also known as Greenhands, have begun learning where food comes from and are getting an introduction to agriculture in the community, state, and nation.
“I was very excited and happy that I get to help the library and with everyone from FFA,” sophomore Kayla Robinson said. “I love doing FFA because I get to get my hands dirty and I get to be around animals and understand them more. FFA is a great opportunity for young kids to explore more about what they can do then just taking care of animals.”
The flower beds are part of one of the two community gardens that will be created. Jennifer Cooley, librarian and secretary of the board of trustees, will begin teaching “Learn, Grow, Eat, Go” classes at the library and play a major role in helping lead this project, along with many others.
“Once we learned more about “Learn, Grow, Eat, Go” and once we met with Amy Shively, who was our liaison with Texas A&M Agrilife extension, it really became something that we are so excited to bring to Lindale,” Cooley said.
The students partnered with Smith County Agrilife Extension to build the flower beds for the library. Amy Shively, an employee of Extenstension and the coordinator of the project, reached out to the FFA students for help.
“A&M AgriLife has a gardening program for youth ‘Learn, Grow, Eat, Go’ and adults ‘Growing and Nourishing Healthy Communities,’ which the library will be offering through Extension,” Shively said. “These are two of the programs that I am responsible for. Educating people how to eat nutritional foods, be physically active, stretch food dollars and such. Participants will be able to harvest what they have grown.”
One objective of FFA is to advocate for agriculture, which includes educating consumers about where food comes from, encouraging healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle, and helping people get involved in agriculture.
“I hope that my students gain practical skills in learning how to build the planter beds,” Bacon said. “More than that, I want them to experience the importance of advocating for agriculture in the community. I want them to learn how to interact with members of the community for the purpose of building relationships, educating people about agriculture, and making the community better.”