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IW schools receive $15K agriculture program grant

Isle of Wight County Schools has received a $15,000 grant that will help fund a “farm to fork” program that will enable students to grow fresh vegetables that will be served in cafeterias throughout the division, starting with Windsor Elementary.

Earlier this year, the Bayer Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program partnered with local farmers to nominate rural public school districts and award grants to enhance their science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. Isle of Wight was a recipient.

The school division will use the money to purchase materials for the construction of a greenhouse at the division’s land lab. Agriculture students from Smithfield and Windsor high schools will use the greenhouse to grow lettuce, collards, and broccoli that will be used for school lunches.

“Students in the agriculture program have a unique opportunity to apply STEM concepts to real-world

applications on a daily basis,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton. We would like to thank the local

farmers who nominated our district to apply for the Grow Rural Education Grant, as well as Bayer Fund’s

Farmer Advisory Council who believed we could make a difference with the funds.”

Isle of Wight was the only school division in Virginia to receive this grant. This is the second year Isle of Wight County Schools received the grant. In 2019, the division received $10,000 to fund a cattle handling facility to assist agriculture students from Smithfield and Windsor high schools in learning safe animal handling practices.

Grow Rural Education’s Farmer Advisory Council, consisting of a panel of math and science teachers and approximately 30 farming industry leaders from across the country, review the finalist applications and select the winning school districts.