Marana FFA Chapter receives Grants for Growing funding from National FFA Organization
The Marana FFA chapter was awarded $5,000 as part of the 2019 Grants for Growing program. The nationwide program, sponsored by Tractor Supply Company, provides grant funds to local FFA chapters to support the development or improvement of agricultural education projects that enhance the classroom experiences for students through chapter engagement activities.
Marana FFA plans to further their plant science skills by restoring the chapter's greenhouse. The current Greenhouse does not have a wetwall, working heater or fans, or environmental control system. “The Agriscience program is excited to have a working greenhouse where the students can have a hands-on experience,” states Ashley Haller, Agriscience educator at Marana High School. “The program will be growing tomatoes for the first growing season. Students will be able to provide produce for our Culinary department and donate to the local Marana Foodbank. We would also like to do a research project that would incorporate our other bioscience classes on campus. In order to complete all this, students would have to plan, setup and maintain the greenhouse from scratch.”
A greenhouse also offers a sustainable way to farm. Bayer Agriculture states, “More days of Arizona sunlight mean that we can maintain plants in a more energy efficient way than a greenhouse built in other geographies with less energy.”
“Students will be able to gain essential skills working in our greenhouse that could transfer over into an agricultural career here in Arizona,” Haller states. “If Marana High School students can graduate with those skills they will be able to enter the workforce with environmentally conscious attitudes and skills needed for many of the greenhouse production businesses in our area. There is a need in the Marana Community for students with a background in plant science. These students could meet employment gaps that exist with local agriculture industry.”