FFA chapters across Ohio have been awarded grants designed to help their local communities. The Ohio FFA Foundation’s Agricultural & Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP) provides support to build sustainable relationships and programs that will benefit Ohio communities for years to come.
Originally introduced in 2013, ARCOP grants allow Ohio FFA chapters to apply for funding that aid community development projects. These FFA chapter ARCOP projects often benefit rural residents or low-income farmers and have a long-term impact on the community, either economically or through an improved quality of life. Participating FFA Chapters will work in collaboration with other local organizations to complete these projects for agricultural topics varying from educational programs to awareness and promotion to economic development.
After FFA chapters submitted project proposals to the Ohio FFA Foundation, a total of 12 chapters were awarded grants. The projects will be completed between July and the end of 2020.
The ARCOP program is a partnership between the Ohio FFA Foundation and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
“FFA is an exemplary organization that gives back to the community and is grooming today’s students to be future leaders of Ohio,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture is proud to support these outstanding FFA chapters and projects that will keep agriculture in the forefront and will help local communities across the state.”
FFA Chapters that received ARCOP grants and brief project descriptions are listed below. Projects may be altered as effects of COVID-19 outbreak are monitored.
Allen East FFA (Allen County)
With their ARCOP grant, the Allen East FFA will teach students about food production by using the Aerogrow Gardens system. High school students will lead educational workshops for elementary and middle school students to teach them about growing plants hydroponically.
Collins Career Center FFA (Lawrence County)
The FFA members at the Collins Career Center will be restoring a greenhouse and purchasing hydroponic equipment to grow produce. The produce will be provided to low-income students and sold at their local farmer’s market.
Greene County Career Center FFA (Greene County)
By partnering with the Greene County Ag Society and their local extension office, the Greene County Career Center plans to help teach consumers about food production. They will also be highlighting the importance of youth development through the FFA and 4-H.
Hillsboro FFA (Highland County)
Members of the Hillsboro FFA will provide hats and gloves to students in need. They will also provide clothing to economically disadvantaged families during the Christmas season to help alleviate their financial burden.
Indian Lake OHP FFA (Logan County)
FFA members of Indian Lake will raise market turkeys. Half of the processed animals will be donated to the local food bank and the funds from the remaining animals will be added to the students’ college savings accounts.
Miller City FFA (Putnam County)
The Miller City FFA will be using raised beds to grow leafy green vegetables in collaboration with elementary students. Produce will be donated to The Leipsic Community Center to be distributed to anyone in need.
National Trail-MVCTC FFA (Preble County)
Members of the National Trail-MVCTC FFA will help relieve food insecurity around Thanksgiving by providing food to families in need. They will also work with second grade students to grow lettuce to be distributed to food banks throughout the year.
Ridgedale FFA (Marion County)
With ARCOP grant funds, the Ridgedale FFA will be able to upgrade their plant lab and renovate their greenhouse to be used by students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Vertical gardens and hydroponics systems will be used for educational workshops and produce will be donated to the school cafeteria.
Spencerville FFA (Allen County)
The Spencerville FFA is aiming to increase awareness about where food comes from by working with elementary students to grow cool season vegetables. FFA members will also deliver lessons to second grade students to help them learn more about food production.
Twin Valley South-MVCTC FFA (Preble County)
Through interactive presentations, the Twin Valley South-MVCTC FFA plans to expose students to career opportunities in the agricultural industry. Participating students will go home with an “Ag Bag” to further their experience.
Versailles FFA (Darke County)
The Versailles FFA plans to expand their Young Ag Conference with the addition of a Farm Day. Kindergarten through 4th grade students will be exposed to opportunities in the agricultural industry.
Zane Trace FFA (Ross County)
Members of the Zane Trace FFA will work with first and second grade students to grow fruits and vegetables for the school cafeteria. They will also raise chickens in a portable chicken coop to donate meat and eggs to the Church Triumphant Food Pantry. Elementary students will participate in programs to learn about food production.