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VISTA Post #3: Closing the Garden Loop

On Friday the Apalachee Agriculture and Family and Consumer Science classes joined me in an animal nutrition and benefit class. All eight classes joined me to talk about how we can use animals on the farm to benefit our garden. Students learned how using animal waste in addition to organic compost in a garden can help add to the organic matter percentage in the soil. Students and I went through all types of animal manure along with their individual benefits and downfalls in the garden. 

In addition to garden benefits, students learned how using small animals (such as chickens and rabbits) for sources of meats can create sustainability in small homesteads/farms as these animals use less resources and have comparably faster grow-out rates. Students were amazed at how little space they could use to produce their own food and just even more amazed at just how little food these animals consume! While some students were taken aback by the thought of butchering such an unconventional animal but other students made the point that it was no different than butchering a cow, a chicken, or a pig for sources of food. Some students brought up the fact that most people are only okay with their food sources and what they consume because it comes already packaged, that if individuals had to consider where their food comes from, may they wouldn’t consume so much of those foods.

Students finished off the lesson getting to hold these animals in the classroom. Overall, students came away with a better appreciation for where there food comes from and what goes into creating what’s on their plate.

Ashley Burton
Grow It Know It AmeriCorps VISTA 2019-2020