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Growing The Good Stuff: MCIS Students Learn About Healthy Food

The Harrodsburg Herald/Casey Roberts
Adam Chisholm is joined by students Sadie Payton, Naksh Patel, Lynden Hargitt, Charlotte Cos and Tyler Wade.

Casey Roberts
Herald Staff

In the afterschool agricultural program at Mercer County Intermediate School, students are learning about the benefits of raising their own fruits and vegetables. What started as a simple idea from Mercer County Food Director Chris Minor and MCIS teacher Adam Chisholm has evolved into a hobby students cannot get enough of. After teaching for 20 years and being a self-proclaimed “homesteader,” Chisholm sees the benefits firsthand of what an engaged leader can do for students interested in agriculture.

“It all started with a garden. The following year more students became involved with our garden. We’ve added chickens that will soon lay eggs, we have rabbits coming in the spring and hopefully we will have our own small flock of sheep in the future,” said Chisholm.

Minor took notice of the growing popularity of Chisholm’s ag program and wanted to help expand it.

“Chris wanted to support our program, but also wanted to start instilling the knowledge of where our food is coming from into the students,” said Chisholm.

Minor sourced three hydroponic grow towers for the MCIS building. It did not take long for the towers to prove their worth. Within a 21 day span, the towers produced enough lettuce and spinach to provide every student in the building with a salad.

As a result, many students who previously never entertain the idea of eating a salad, made sure to cash in on the fruits—or veggies in this case—of their labor.

Planting and raising crops, coupled with tending animals has given many MCIS students a sense of responsibility.

“This agriculture program has benefited so many students. It has allowed kids who come from an agriculture background to step up and lead their peers, the program has also introduced suburban kids to the world of raising crops and small animals,” said Minor.

However, the most beneficial aspect of the program has been the level of engagement from students who sometimes struggle to find motivation in the classroom.

“This program has been a game changer for kids who prefer to learn hands on,” said Minor.

While raising fruits and veggies can be an important life skill, the animals have been the biggest take away from the MCIS ag program.

“I believe holding the animals can really help kids who struggle with anger,” said Luan Roos.

“I love ag club because I enjoy the ducks, rabbits and chickens. I also enjoy the farming videos,” said Naksh Patel.

For more of this story, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

1 Comment

  1. Adam Chisholm on March 29, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks so much for coming to feature what the kids are doing! I can’t stress enough how much our success has been influenced by Chris Minor and by our Principal Kelly Odell. They have both recognized the benefit of agriculture education for the young ones, and have each supported these programs with a ton of enthusiasm and encouragement. We wouldn’t be where we are without either of them!

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