Spring news!

FFA members Paige Parks-Smith, Morgan Derby, Kylie Ruane, & Courtney Batacchi competed in the state FFA Horse Judging competition (CDE). They placed 5th in the state and had a great day.

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The annual Mother’s Day hanging basket sale was a great success! We sold over a 100 hanging baskets in less than a week.

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The annual FFA Agricultural Fair will not happen this year due to lack of snow days. There simply isn’t any time after MCAS and with exams immediately following.

FFA members brought their animals to the Sheffield Bushnell-Sage Library on May 12th. Thank you for inviting us!

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Ag Day at the Capital – Mt. Everett FFA members Alliyah Mead, Paige Parks-Smith and Bria Wells attended the annual Agricultural Day at the State House on April 5th 2016. They attended with Berkshire County Farm Bureau members and Greenagers director, Will Conklin. The Greenagers sponsored the cost for attending. Thank you!

Ag Day at the State House is an event where MA farmers and the agriculture community take over the State House. This is a good time to meet with legislators and their aides to highlight the opportunities and barriers for farms in Massachusetts.  It’s also a good time to meet with other farmers from around the state, network, and discuss issues. No event puts so many farmers, Agriculture organizations and legislators together in one place with the express purpose of discussing agriculture and issues impacting it.

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State FFA Convention – Five FFA members attended and competed in the 86th Massachusetts State FFA convention March 15-18 in Sturbridge MA.   Bria Wells and Paige Parks Smith earned their Baystate FFA degree which is quite an honor – based on their SAE agriculture project and FFA activities over the past 3 years. Bria Wells placed third in the state in the Job Interview competition, the Quiz Bowl team (Alliyah Mead, Ashana Legeyt, Paige Parks-Smith and Bria Wells) placed 4th in the state, and students participated in the chapter exhibit (Haley Barrett, Ashana Legeyt, Alliyah Mead) and scrapbook contest (Paige Parks-Smith) which highlighted our chapter and region of the state.

In addition, students heard from two key note speakers, Dr. Risk Rigsby and Aaron Polansky, whose presentations not only entertained us but served as a conduit for embodying leadership and integrity. Our students got to met the National FFA president, Taylor McNeel, and Massachusetts State FFA officers.

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FFA Food for all grant – The Mt. Everett FFA chapter was a recipient of a $2500 National FFA Food For All grant. This is a two year project with the goal of supporting existing projects such as broiler chicken production, expanding the laying hen chicken coop, and bringing the campus garden back to life.

We will be partnering with the school district food director Jeremy Wells, culinary teacher Sue Petrucci, school horticulturist Peggy Wilson, and Greenagers director Will Conklin to complete this project.I know the after school Greenagers group has already started working in the garden.

The goals of the school garden, chicken coop and broiler tractors are to teach essential life skills and support academic learning through hands-on lessons in grades k-12.

Our FFA chapter knows that farm to school programs are promising strategies that can potentially decrease the rates of childhood obesity, change eating habits, increase agricultural literacy, and create better infrastructure for food systems. These projects will increase the amount of fresh local produce and chicken that is infused into our school cafeteria and culinary program while allowing students of all ages make connections with where their food comes from.

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Lambs – Our ewes have given birth to 7 healthy lambs this year. We had two surprise January lambs but luckily the temperature wasn’t too brutal.

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