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Students in Bondurant's agriculture program made dog treats this year. From left are Elijah Carrier, Alli Jones, Presley Fell, Levi Morrow and John Lodmell. (Photo submitted)

The Kentucky FFA Foundation has awarded the agriculture program at Bondurant Middle School a $5,000 Ag Achiever grant to help them add a learning kitchen and establish more vegetable beds. 

Agriculture teacher Payton Carter is working with the school to convert a classroom into a kitchen where students will have the opportunity to learn about processing food they raise.  

“One of the goals at Western Hills (the high school Bondurant students eventually attend) is to establish a food science pathway,” she said. “We are going to use raised vegetable garden beds to grow produce, then use it in our food science lessons.” 

After doing a dog-treat making project with her students, Carter realized how excited they were to learn in a tactile, hands-on way, and how much they would gain from a dedicated food science space. “For the age range we’re in, it’s going to help a lot with useful life skills, whether or not they stay in agriculture,” she said. “It will let us do those hands-on, life skill experiences more often because we’ll have the supplies here.” 

“One of the many things that makes agricultural education and FFA so special is that it’s all about learning by doing,” said Sheldon McKinney, executive director of the Kentucky FFA Foundation. “Ag Achiever grants provide funds to make sure local programs have the best, most innovative technology to engage their students.” 

“Without the funding (from the Kentucky FFA Foundation), we wouldn’t be able to purchase what we need to set this up,” said Carter. 

Funding for Ag Achiever grants comes from the $10 donations farm license-plate holders can choose to give when they renew their tags, as well as from a generous donation by Universal Leaf.  

“Children are the future of agriculture, and by partnering with programs such as Kentucky FFA’s Ag Achiever Grant, we are all working towards the common goal of developing strong leaders who will understand the importance of agriculture and its role in the global economy,” said Lindsay Efird, Universal Leaf representative. 

“When we give funds to an agricultural education program, it doesn’t just impact a handful of students,” said McKinney. “Hundreds of students a day pass through ag ed classrooms and every year, you get new students! Its impact is tremendous.” 

The Kentucky FFA Foundation cultivates partnerships which support the FFA vision to grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture. Kentucky FFA Foundation initiatives impact more than 14,000 FFA members in 158 FFA chapters across Kentucky.  

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