Too often education is all about lectures and dry, musty books left over from the last round of budget cuts. Cove, though, is proving it doesn’t have to be that way. With the Cove School Board’s decision to approve converting 2 1/2 acres into a school farm, students will be given opportunities for hands-on education — and at the same time even be battling the childhood obesity epidemic. More on that later.
The land just east of the elementary school playground includes an old early 1900s vintage house. Cove High School’s building trades class will soon help convert the old house into an agricultural education center and food processing site.
The school farm will start small. This spring the plans include planting a garden. Soon, however, the school farm will get a lot more busy. Long-range plans are for fruit, vegetable and egg production. Those commodities could be added to the school lunch program. This is fresh food, not processed, and should be good for the overall nutritional value and education for the students on what will be good for them for a lifetime.
Students will play a major role in running the farm. In a broad sense, they will learn about the importance of agriculture in feeding the world. But the farm will give the students much more than a crop of platitudes. They will have something positive to be a part of as they cultivate their crops, and actually see them on the dinner table. The older and more advanced students will be able to teach younger and less advanced ones and unlock their talents in the agriscience field.
Students will also learn general problem-solving skills, because as anyone who has lived and worked on a farm knows, challenges arise as often as hogs get hungry. A good farmer, the students will soon learn, needs to know the sometimes complicated sequence of tasks necessary to solve a problem. And of course, good problem solvers on the farm can take that skill out into their careers, even if they happen to outside agriscience, and be good problem solvers in life in general.
Other districts in the area certainly are always looking for opportunities to give their students as many hands-on educational experiences as possible. And other districts are looking to boost the nutritional values in their school lunch program. The Cove school farm sets a good example of the possibilities for education that can last a lifetime.