Sustainable Living: Going Off the Grid

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2010: $1,962.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Manager:
Diana J. Woodworth
Sheboygan Falls School District


  • Fruits: berries (blueberries), grapes
  • Vegetables: asparagus, beans, carrots, peas (culinary), peppers, cucurbits, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs


  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: demonstration, mentoring, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, farm-to-institution, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: leadership development, community services

    Proposal abstract:

    The plan to educate our students in Sustainable Agriculture will encompass several classes that students are required to take or have the opportunity to take. The students will start with an English 9 class, with the opportunity to take an Agriculture Culinary Arts, Technology Education, and/or Business class. In all of the courses, sustainable agriculture practices will be addressed with opportunities for students to explore the various sustainable agriculture topics that interest them. Our purpose in Agriculture, Culinary Arts, Technology, and Business classes is to partner with the academic areas and provide applied learning to our students. Our classes address the skills students will use for self-reliance, appropriate technology, and environmental awareness to promote our local agriculture. We will help the students strengthen their community connection and celebrate local living while becoming aware of career options using our local environment. The students will address their interest and a begin hands-on project to learn about the sustainable practice that they have chosen to learn about. Project in Detail 1. English 9 students will be asked to come up with several inquiry questions regarding our local community, current lifestyle, and sustainable agriculture practices. 2. Students will narrow it to one inquiry question that most interests them, and research and prepare a power point presentation on the sustainable agriculture practice of their choice. 3. Students will have teacher speakers from the Agriculture, Culinary arts, Technology Education, and Business departments who will provide applied learning opportunities for their inquiry assignment and help create a sustainable agriculture project. 4. Cooperatively (English, Ag, Culinary Arts, Tech, and business) students will take several field trips to local farms, restaurants and businesses that practice sustainability. 5. Student topics will lead to the use of our school/community garden and orchard where they can develop their projects further. 6. Students will help prepare the gardens. Renting equipment along with using manpower to remove the topsoil, bring in more soil, and till the soil. 7. Plotting the garden by the participants. 8. Students will be able to plant in the school greenhouse where they will need: soil, seeds, and containers for planting. 9. Starter plants for the orchard and garden will need to be ordered: fruit trees, grape vines, berry bushes, asparagus roots, and onion and garlic bulbs. 10. Equipment: gardening tools, wheelbarrows, trellis, tomato cages will be needed 11. Students will be harvesting and will need containers to harvest with. 12. Students will be taking a summer course that will be cooperatively led by the agriculture, Culinary Arts, Technology and Business teacher to learn how to plant, grow, harvest, cook, process and market the items that they grow. 13. Students will be taking their produce to market to sell. They will sell their produce to the Culinary Arts department and the Schools Food Service department to use in their programs. 14. Students will also have the opportunity to process and market a product made from their gardens. 15. The students will be creating a portfolio of their process and are required to create a slide show of their entire process. 16. The intention is for the students, starting at the freshman level, to proceed throughout their high school career learning and applying new information on sustainable living practices as they grow, along with providing career pathways and community participation. My hope is for students to: •Learn where their food comes from. •Learn how their food gets from the farm to the table. •Learn why it is important to purchase locally grown foods from our farmers. •Learn how to use their knowledge and skill to plan, grow, plant, harvest, and process food for their own families, for local consumption, and how to grow their own local sustainable business. •Learn about nutrition and advocate for the use of fresh, locally grown foods in our current lunch program. •Learn about our local agricultural practices, those existing and those that are the new innovative approach to technology. •Learn to have a work ethic and encourage them to become lifelong learners as they graduate into the 21st century workplace. IMPACT It is an exciting time for all us getting our program “Sustainable Living: Going Off The Grid” started and seeing students make the application of learning connection and wanting to be involved in the hands-on process. We want our students to learn about how our community farms and their practices. We want them to be impacted by the newest technology and experience how the farming community is using technology. We want this to impact our students by developing: positive self-esteem, a can-do attitude, a sense of being part of the bigger picture of life, being able to give back to the community they have grown up in. We want this to impact students to be financially aware and take the new information they have learned for their future use in their sustainable living practices in this community or any that they become part of. RESOURCES Teachers: *Agriculture curriculum and teacher: Bruce Brunner *Culinary Arts curriculum and teachers: Vickie Meyer and Diana Woodworth *Technology Curriculum and teachers: Collin Kachel and Ed Hughes *Business Curriculum and teacher: Kyle Bernoft *English Curriculum and teache:r Addie Degenhardt *Biology Curriculum and teacher: Liz Jesse Magazines: *Taunton’s gardening, Taunton’s Fine Cooking *Gourmet, Chile Pepper *Bon appétit *Cuisine at home *Nutrition Action *Sustainable Living Magazines Local Businesses: *Farm Market Incubator, Mary Pat Carlson, director *River Farms, Steve Young *Growing Power *Local Restaurants *Lakeshore Technical College OUTREACH We will hold our first “Sustainable Living: Going Off The Grid” Field Day on our schools campus. Students, teachers, parents, farmers, and locals who are interested in Sustainable Living will be invited. The students will give tours of their gardens, greenhouse, orchard, barn, and classrooms. We will invite all current and past students to participate who have various projects, such as beekeeping, egg production, and those with the school gardens. They will participate by setting up a display, talking about what they have accomplished, offering samples of their produce and samples of products made. Various food demonstrations will be set up giving samples of their produce and recipes to make the products; examples: Pickles, salsa, jams, jellies, soups, cheese, and ice cream. We will have several competitions to encourage the farming students to bring in produce, flowers, and products made from their gardens. Prizes will be awarded. We will be extending an invitation to all members of our teaching staff to join us by planning their own sustainable project in their class and setting up a display as well. We hope for a recycled art-style show using recycled fabrics, music, etc. Each of the participating students in the school garden will be required to create a portfolio/slide show of their accomplishments from the planning of their project/research, information, pictures of participation and products that they have developed throughout the learning experience. The students will use their presentation to present to the teachers, principals, and the school board. The students will also be asked to present to the Farm Kitchens Board.

    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.