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  • Sep 04, 2018

Making a Difference With Community Gardens

Picture of multiple gardening hoes and a rake laying in woodchips
As an agronomy research specialist with WinField United, I spend a lot of time finding ways to help farmers increase their productivity. My position has provided me a unique opportunity to use my training and experience to mentor the next generation of farmers as a sponsor for the WinField United Answer Plot® Community Gardens project.
The program is supported by the Land O’Lakes Foundation, which grants funds to high school FFA chapters to plant and maintain community gardens. Local Answer Plot teams share agronomic knowledge and support the schools throughout the growing season. At the end of the season, all the produce grown is donated to a local food pantry to help battle hunger in rural communities.
The Community Garden project gives teens who may not have had a typical farm upbringing the chance to experience modern agriculture and find out what it takes to produce a quality crop. Students learn about pest control, pollination, planting and harvest, as well as how to be good stewards of the land. At the same time, they’re giving back to their community through a local charity.
I work closely with the Gilbert and Story City FFA chapters in Iowa to help coordinate crews, provide advice and maintain the gardens. I’m impressed by how these students have taken ownership of the project and how it has served as a gateway to get them involved in other local charities. I’ve also seen a big boost in ag education as students invest time in the gardens.    
WinField United teams support the Community Garden project because we understand the value of agricultural education for our young people. This collaborative program continues to enrich the lives of local students, the community and Answer Plot teams.