One of the exciting projects we have going on at Terra Nova High School is the Terra Nova Community Farm. In the spring of 2008, we received a grant from the Gray Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation that is allowing us to turn a portion of the school grounds into a small student-run farm. The main goals of this program are to educate students about sustainable agriculture, small business management and building community around the farm. With guidance from Paul, the students have turned the ¾ acre plot into a small farm using organic growing techniques. The students have been involved in every step of the process from planning which crops to grow to marketing to teaching community members about what they are learning. In addition to working in the gardens planting, weeding and harvesting, classroom lessons in science and math may be tied to the farm. Students earn high school credit through their internship on the farm and independent research projects.
Terra Nova Community Farm is being run as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Families or individuals “invest” in the CSA at the beginning of the season and receive their share of healthy farm-fresh produce every week throughout the growing season. This model is growing in popularity and is an excellent opportunity for people to gain a complete understanding of where their food is coming from. In our case, it means coming out to the farm once a week to pick up produce and see how quickly the farm changes in a week.
Having just finished our first (very successful) growing season, we are looking forward to an even bigger and better season next year. New crops are also going in over the winter months to provide fresh produce for a school salad bar. In a day and age when food commonly travels hundreds of miles from field to plate, and is grown in a manner that is not ecologically responsible, we are proud to offer an option that benefits the community, the students of Terra Nova and the environment.