The Wisconsin FFA Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 chapter grants, which encourage Wisconsin FFA chapters to develop individual and cooperative activities that will enhance their communities.
Granton FFA is the recipient of the $500 Community Service grant, new this year and available due to generous donations to the Bethany L. Rieth Memorial Fund. This fund was established in the Past State FFA Officer’s honor after her sudden passing in February 2016.
The Granton FFA Chapter will use these funds to provide meals to cancer patients at Hope Lodge in Marshfield, expanding on a community service project it already has in place. “My hope for FFA members is to learn compassion,” says Advisor Katie Chapman in the grant application. “It is very inspiring to see a student offer to carry a sick person’s plate back to their table.”
Two chapters, Ashland FFA and Waupun FFA, are this year’s recipients of the Food for America grant, once again funded by the Wisconsin FFA Foundation’s long-time Two-Star Mission Partner, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Inc.
Ashland FFA will continue to teach area students and community members about the food production cycle through its small animal exhibit. The $500 in grant funds will be used to improve the project’s fencing, as it continues to grow in size and impact through community partnerships.
With its $500 grant, the Waupun FFA plans to double the amount of Friday lunches it can offer each year at the Waupun Food Pantry Community. “The goal of this project is to let the community know that FFA members recognize the need in our community and that we have the ability and desire to make a positive difference,” says Advisor Tari Costello in the application. “This project is a powerful learning opportunity for every person involved.”
The Wisconsin FFA Foundation and Syngenta also have partnered for a second year to provide resources for produce gardens to six Wisconsin FFA Chapters. Three of these 2017 Grow More Communities grant winners, Antigo, Randolph Cambria-Friesland and Waupun FFA chapters, are returning gardens, while Milton FFA and Shullsburg FFA were newly selected to begin their garden project. Start-up gardens are given $500 to begin the project and $500 at the end of the season. Existing gardens are awarded $500 also when the garden is completed
Milton FFA Advisor Stacy Skemp says the chapter will use the garden to help spread the message of agriculture through the Milton Community Library programs, as well as provide fresh produce to the Milton Food Pantry. “The food pantry has a hard time fulfilling all of the families’ needs on a regular basis,” she adds, noting that other garden produce will be given to the local FFA Alumni for use with their Thanksgiving baskets and also used in the school cafeteria.
“We’re so grateful to our chapter grant sponsors who support agriculture education in this way,” says John Hromyak, Wisconsin FFA Foundation executive director. “The practical and meaningful outcomes that these grants produce will benefit many and help to improve our communities.”