Physical Address
203 Agricultural Communications
Lincoln, NE 68588-0912
PO Box 94942
Lincoln, NE 68509-4942

Growing Green with Norfolk FFA

Over the past two years, the Norfolk FFA Chapter has turned what were once weedy patches of ground into vivid and living urban garden plots. The chapter saved this area from being converted into a mulched or grassy space and has put it to good use. These garden plots have given students new hands-on learning experience and been an asset to the community.  

With the support of the Nebraska FFA Foundation local chapter grant program, Norfolk FFA has built a small garden in their community and will be able to continue its expansion. They have added more raised beds to the garden where they grow leafy greens and other vegetables such as potatoes, broccoli, and radishes. They also added row covers and trellises. Apple trees and grapevines were purchased and planted in the hopes for some fruit production in the future. The chapter hopes to build another raised bed this fall.

The development of this urban garden has expanded learning opportunities for students and gets them out of the classroom. Jon Anderson, the ag teacher at Norfolk shares that students have enjoyed the new curriculum being implemented in the garden. Lessons have been taught on basic agronomy and horticulture and career opportunities in these fields have been discussed. Some special topics covered include late-season crops, vernalization of overwintering plants, viticulture (growing grapes), and arborist techniques. In relation to growing trees and lessons on arborist techniques, a guest speaker has visited the program multiple times to share urban and non-urban forestry experiences. This has shown students the diverse field of plant sciences in agriculture.

Norfolk FFA has helped transform their community through this garden. It has become an example of intensive raised bed gardening and shows what education opportunities are possible. The chapter has donated the food from the garden to the local Homeless Rescue Mission. There is a plan to expand the garden to another location in town in the hopes of producing more food for different entities in the area. Norfolk FFA has shown that urban agriculture is possible and has numerous benefits. It provides students with hands-on learning and helps support the entire community.