Local FFA chapters receive Environmental Grant from National FFA Organization

Nationwide grant program supports local chapter to engage in service-learning project. 

The McGavock and Overton FFA chapters have both been awarded a $2,000 grant from the National FFA Organization's Living to Serve: Environmental Grant program. These chapters have developed a year-long service-learning project to meet a local environmental need. The Living to Serve: Environmental Grants are provided through funding from CSX, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

McGavock FFA Chapter

McGavock FFA is one of the longest running FFA chapters in Nashville with a history of success. Students in this program study pre-veterinary science in the Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Health Science and Law.  McGavock FFA is collecting used household items to "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" into pet toys for a local animal shelter. To further reduce waste, FFA members are also conducting a DIY recycled pet toy contest with local 8th graders to educate them on why we should all reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Overton FFA Chapter

Overton High School is one of four agriculture programs in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and is focusing on urban agriculture. Many of the students in this area are recent immigrants to the United States. A reality of urban areas is that most families have limited space and for many, limited resources. Urban and community gardens are gaining in popularity, especially with families that are looking to grow more diverse produce for ethnic cooking. Whether the family has access to a small garden of their own or a church or community garden, they could benefit from soil amendments with the heavy clay soils here in middle Tennessee. Composting allows families to reduce their waste while creating a very useful soil amendment. This grant project will teach local community members about the benefits of composting and help them set-up a composting program. The grant will focus on small scale composting including small outdoor bins, tumblers, and vermicomposting (using worms) that can be conducted indoors for families with minimal or no yard space. As part of this grant, the chapter will host a minimum of three educational workshops over the life of the grant. Two will be for elementary or middle school students from their feeder schools teaching them about vermicomposting, including setting up a compost bin for their classrooms. The third workshop will be for the local community and will present different composting set ups including tumblers, small bins, and vermicomposting. Students will present different compost designs and evaluate their use with the workshop attendees. As a result of this grant, students will create a minimum of four different styles of composting bins and a vermicomposting center for the classroom. Inputs will be tracked to determine how much waste is diverted out of the trash stream. Students will use this information to create an Agriscience Fair research project and could potentially start a variety of Supervised Agricultural Experience projects as a result.

These projects illustrate the final line of the FFA motto ("Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve") by encouraging FFA members to unite in service within their communities. The Living to Service: Environmental Grants take community serve one step further to service-learning, which provides a meaningful way to apply leadership and education skills learned in school and FFA. More information about this program can be found at www.ffa.org/envirogrants.