Metro Career Academy Receives Grant to Open Oklahoma’s First Student Farmer’s Market
Left to right: Barbara Loudermilk, principal; Jona Kay Squires, horticulture teacher; Elijah Casey, Gissel Ramirez, Brittany Smiley, Warren Conerly, Leslie Cookson, entrepreneurship teacher; Channing Lane; and David Martin, assistant site director/lead te
OKLAHOMA CITY - Metro Career Academy was recently awarded the $50,000 Cox Connects Community IMPACT Grant, which will be used in 2014 to implement Oklahoma’s first student-led farmer’s market at MCA, located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District.
The grant, funded by Cox employees, is given annually to a K-12 educational initiative that enriches the overall educational experience and social wellbeing of students. MCA’s initiative - the Sow to Grow Farmer’s Market - will provide students with unique interdisciplinary learning opportunities as horticulture, culinary arts, and entrepreneurship career majors collaborate to grow produce, market their product, and operate a small business.
According to Jona Kay Squires, MCA horticulture teacher, this project combines real-life work experience for students as they also engage in their community.
“Agriculture is the backbone to our society. There is a movement to produce and consume local products, which is a win for everyone. Our students will get the chance to produce high quality fruits and vegetables on less than one acre of land, demonstrate how to cook and prepare seasonal products in an outdoor kitchen, and work with many local partners such as the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture,” she says. In addition, local vendors will be invited to participate in the farmer’s market on campus and encouraged to share their expertise with students.
The students, a diverse group of juniors and seniors, interviewed in front of a Cox employee panel as part of the grant selection process, and look forward to the creative, hands-on learning experience outside the classroom.
“Having the first student-led farmer’s market will give us the ability to integrate technology with business, advancing our skills and preparing us for better career opportunities,” says Warren Connerly, senior entrepreneurship student. And, adds Samantha Tilley, senior horticulture student, “It will be exciting and fun to work with customers, and learn how to grow spring and fall vegetables.”
The MCA Sow to Grow Farmer’s Market is slated to open in 2014.
By Billie Smith
Metro Technology Centers Community Relations / Social Media Specialist