Classes collaborate to embrace farm to table concept

Students get a unique hands-on experience with agriculture


Photo courtesy of Louisa County Public Schools

Ag teacher Kristin Watkins provides opportunities for students to learn and experience the world of agriculture by raising market pigs at school.

Ellen Rosson, Reporter

 Here in Louisa County, some grow up learning the ropes of the family farm while others may not have any idea how the ham they ate for dinner got to their table.

  Animal systems teacher Kristin Watkins wanted to create more opportunities for students to learn and dive into the agriculture world by raising pigs here at school. 

  Now students can be even more hands-on in the classroom. Similar to anyone who raises show pigs, the agriculture students will be responsible for cleaning their pen, feeding, and watering them each day. The hogs will also be walked and brushed as well. Students with more experience will be able to step in and assist others as needed. 

  “Having hogs at school has provided students the opportunity to view livestock production from a new perspective,” says Watkins. 

  This new program will allow students to learn about topics like health management, animal behavior, and feeding programs that can all be applied outside of high school. 

  “It’s super exciting to be able to have an opportunity like this at our school and implement what we have learned in class to a real-life experience,” sophomore Allison Allen said.

  Many students have never had the opportunity to work with livestock, but Watkins is giving everyone a unique, rewarding chance to learn something new. 

  This project doesn’t only involve one class here at LCHS, but two.

  To complete the farm-to-plate concept, the culinary program was involved in harvesting the pigs this fall. Farm-to-plate is a social movement not only for just educating those who may not know all farmers’ involvement in the process but also to be able to know exactly where your food came from. The pigs not only benefited the culinary class as a learning experience but also as an outlet for the food scraps produced in the kitchen. 

  “I think it’s a great opportunity to have one program produce something and another utilize it,” says Howell.

  Culinary students will be learning how to utilize and cook many parts of the pig by making bacon, BBQ, ribs and learning how to smoke the meat. However, culinary skills will not be the only thing students acquire throughout the duration of the project, they will also learn how to be self-sufficient. 

  “This project will teach students that not everything has to come from the grocery store, you can produce your own food,” says Culinary teacher, Chef Ben Howell. 

 Louisa County continues to offer such diverse and creative ways to learn and apply their knowledge throughout the classroom.