Maplewood Academy has revived its farm program under the leadership of Terry Nennich, vice principal for finance. Nennich, who was raised in an agricultural family, led out in planting a variety of fruits and vegetables on about five acres last spring to sell to the community and supplement our own cafeteria supply. Over the summer students assisted in planting as well as weeding and caring for the crops, and now are actively involved in the fall harvest.
Crops include an acre of sweet corn, quarter acre of potatoes, and hundreds of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, squash and pumpkin plants and much more. In addition, much of the work this summer has gone into tending almost two acres of strawberries, which will be harvested next June with student labor as well as U-Pick.
It has been a unique experience for the students, many of whom have never been on a farm (or even in a garden), to work outdoors seeing what is involved and how things grow.
The Lord has blessed our endeavors and the fall harvest has gone very well. So far over $2,000 of produce has been used in the cafeteria and part of our harvest has been sold at a local farmer’s market on Wednesdays, as well as from a vegetable stand set up on the Maplewood Academy campus. Many community members have enjoyed purchasing our vegetables and we have developed quite a reputation for our awesome sweet corn!
Not only have we been able to share our harvest with the community but many of our customers have asked about Maplewood Academy and who we are. This gives us a platform for conversations about Adventist education and our existence in our community.
Stacy Stocks is principal of Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minnesota.