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Grants will let students see all aspects of agriculture

The Summit Elementary School garden plots in Summit Township on Oct. 26, 2022. Butler Eagle File Photo

Students at Summit Elementary School have dug garden beds, seeded plants and tended to their sprouts throughout this school year, but the building needs even more equipment to continue farming efficiently.

Butler Area School District will use a $25,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture to buy a tractor for the school, which students will not be able to drive, but will watch to see how tilling is done.

David Andrews, instructional coach for student engagement at the Butler Area School District, said this Agriculture and Youth Grant, and a $30,000 Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant the district also received, will give students a full view of farming.

“We found doing all these activities that we just need some machinery, from moving soil to tilling,” Andrews said. “We want the students to see all the parts of agriculture.”

Summit elementary started a Community Agricultural Partnership last school year, thanks to a $70,000 Moonshot Grant from Remake Learning, allowing educators to plant seeds to teach gardening.

Students in all grade levels have had lessons in the gardens since then, with the ultimate plan to grow crops at Summit elementary, which will be sold at Broad Street Elementary through a market currently in progress.

Andrews said the grants will go a long way toward constructing a working greenhouse at Summit, which will get the selling process started.

“That is going to help build infrastructure at Summit. We're building that Broad Street market, and stocking it with produce and goods at Summit,” Andrews said. “That is going to add heat to the greenhouse, add to our capabilities of production.”

According to Andrews, Summit Elementary principal Chad Broman plans to get the tractor sometime this spring, and the greenhouse is currently in the works outside the school.

“There is a whole lot going on, I'm really looking ahead,” Andrews said. “We're hoping to have a kickoff at Broad Street and Summit when they’re all done.”

The ground at Summit Elementary is getting prepared for the building of a greenhouse after the school received grant money to build it. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

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