AgriCulture Rural Exploration/Education
Via a grant investment from USDA, students from schools located in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties were invited to participate in an all-day agriculture career pathway exploration. This project aims to incite innovation in agriculture, provide agricultural internships, increase access to local food, and expand market access and therefore economic livelihood for small farmers. This collaborative initiative provides schools with resources to incorporate and emphasize the importance of growing and consuming nutritious food as well as introduce students to innovative agriculture careers. This program is facilitated by the Region Five Development Commission, in collaboration with Central Lakes College and Sprout, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Students will participate in on-farm field trips in their county to learn about innovative production methods such as deep winter greenhouse farming, soil building, hydroponic, aquaponic/aeroponic as water stewardship farming techniques, as well as other advanced agriculture production practices from farms in our region. Students will visit the Central Lakes College (CLC) Staples Campus for a showcase of the many career opportunities in agriculture such as robotics and drone operation. Farmers and ranchers from across the region are invited to facilitate a tabletop conversation with students at the provided lunch about the many realities and benefits of working within the agriculture economy.
Following the ACRE tour day, student groups who attended are invited to apply for a funding opportunity that reflects their ACRE Day learnings. These project ideas should be creative and innovative, with a focus on expanding exposure to agricultural production, technology, and science. Students, your group project could be the catalyst for positive change in your school or community! Examples of project ideas could include launching a school garden program or purchasing kitchen equipment that would allow procurement of commodities from local farms, or to purchase equipment that could be used in the classroom to offer additional learning experiences, or a number of other creative project ideas.
Application deadline is October 25, 2023.
Please see below for more information and to submit the project application.