Murray Middle School's Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry Grant Proposal - Soil to Table with Cultural Relevance

Final report for YENC19-133

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2019: $2,900.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Murray Middle School
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Manager:
Timothy Chase
Murray Middle School
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Project Information


We are requesting funding for transportation to our partner farm, the Oliver Kelley Farm, and school forests Belwin, Wolf Ridge, and CWOC, where students will learn how agriculture touches lives as changes take place in agriculture, by working in the fields, farmyards, and forests. By understand the role Minnesota will play to make sure there is enough food and resources in the future, students will examine topics of changing farming methods and careers.

At school, students will use sustainable practices to plant, harvest, maintain quality soil, and serve produce from the school garden and orchard to the school and beyond.

Project Objectives:

- Increase sustainable farming skills through experiences at our partner farm and reinforced by farming at school in garden and orchard.

- Increase sustainable forestry understanding through observation, work on forest survey, species inventory of resources, and biome surveys.

 - Students will use the student-built raised beds and the student-planted apple and pear trees, to work with sustainable agriculture practices through the seasons, starting with planting, crop rotation, composting, and seed collection for the next season.

- Students will learn of sustainable agricultural career opportunities and culturally relevant sustainable agriculture practices through meetings with farmers, foresters, and chefs.

Educational & Outreach Activities

2 On-farm demonstrations
6 Tours
10 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

4 Farmers/ranchers
25 Youth
3 Educators
10 Other adults
Education/outreach description:

See Success Stories.

Learning Outcomes

Results and discussion:

See Success Stories.

Project Outcomes

1 New working collaboration
Success stories:

Students were able to learn that food comes from plants - which is a foreign concept to a lot of city kids. They learned to harvest and compost and build healthy soil through composting. In the classroom students built Bio-Reactors in empty two liter bottles (small composting and heat generators from the decay process). Students had contests with their Bio-Reactors trying to achieve the highest temperatures.

In the first year of the project students learned about sustainable practices and set up the school gardens with healthy soils, composting, and cover crops. All the parts were put into place during the 2019-2020 school year, however by March of 2020 when the pandemic shut everything down the project had to be left.

Another interesting partnership happened by accident. Students noticed that the urban wildlife was stealing some of the produce. We partnered with another teacher who had trail cams from another project to capture the culprits in action. Students were able to watch the video to see that rabbits were eating the carrots and the deer were getting the apples.

Students were able to meet with farmers, talk about crops and livestock farming and what it takes to be a farmer of each.


Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.