by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Canby FFA members work in a local garden as part of an award-winning project for the Nutrients for Life Foundation. The project involved collecting and testing soil samples, growing vegetables and educating community members. The Nutrients for Life Foundation announced Canby FFA as the 2014 Helping Communities Grow at-large category winner. Canby FFA won $5,000 for helping to improve the soil in the local community garden.

“The FFA chapters that participated in this year’s Helping Communities Grow chapter recognition program left our judges impressed with outstanding quality and creativity,” said Foundation Executive Director Harriet Wegmeyer. “These students put a tremendous amount of time and effort into educating their communities about the role fertilizers play in our lives. It is an honor to present these checks to such deserving students.”

FFA members collected soil samples from several garden plots and tested the soil. From the results, they calculated how to adjust the soils pH and nutrient value with the addition of crop nutrients and compost. FFA members tested their calculations by growing plants in their greenhouse soil. Next they tested the plant material for nutrient content to ensure the plants were nutrient rich. The last step of their project was education. They taught community members that compost and crop nutrients are beneficial to the soil and directly correlate to yields.

The FFA chapter from Troy, Mo., won the second place award of $3,000, and the Corinth Holders FFA chapter, of Wendell, N.C., won $1,000.

Students in participating FFA chapters developed and executed community-based education programs based upon the Nutrients for Life Foundation curriculum, Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century.

The curriculum was developed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and reviewed by the Smithsonian Institution to provide field-tested, standards-based classroom activities to help students learn about scientific solutions to food production.

The Nutrients for Life Foundation spearheads the mission to educate students and the public about critical soil nutrients in our growing world.

Since formation 10 years ago, the Foundation has reached over six million students. Nutrients for Life’s 2013 partnership with Discovery Education has added a new dimension of innovative, interactive digital resources for the modern classroom.

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