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Local school receives federal grant to expand farming program

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) – Students at Franklin Community High School are growing food to help feed their classmates in the cafeteria.

The school received around $72,000 in federal grant money from the U.S Department of Agriculture to expand its farm-to-table program.

Around 200 students are currently in the program that has been around since 2019.

“It never ceases to amaze me when you plant seeds and it grows and it becomes something productive and amazing and delicious,” Alicia Geesey, an agriculture teacher at the school, said. “I have loved being able to share that with my students and it makes every year exciting and new.”

A nine-acre garden sits behind Franklin North Community High school. Students grow blackberries, raspberries, peppers, tomatoes, corn, squash and pumpkins. They use a greenhouse to farm during the winter months.

Students also raise live stock including goats and chickens.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything,” student Jasper Carter said. “I took a semester of horticulure,, so I’ve raised some plants in our greenhouse. I’ve also helped with the animals.”

They enjoyed the fruits of their labor as chicken noodle soup was served for lunch on Tuesday.

“It was one of those things like this is really nice,” student Tank Elmore said. “Our hard work was given back to us.”

“I plan to be a farmer when I grow up and I want to go into the animal science field,” student Samantha Barnes added. “Maybe a vet. I don’t know yet. We might be taking a Purdue field trip with the program soon.”

Franklin North Community High school students will use the federal grant received to raise more chickens, expand their apple orchard and purchase cattle to serve beef in the cafeteria.

Some of the food grown at the farm is donated to families within Franklin Community Schools.

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