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Thursday, November 17 • 10:15am - 11:15am
Giles County Agriculture Land Lab

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The Agriculture Land Lab in Giles County VA, is located on a 38 acre piece of land adjacent to Giles High School and serves all six (6) of our public schools. We began our development of the Land Lab through donations from the Board of Supervisors and local producers, which allowed the procurement of land, fencing and livestock. We now have a fifteen (15) head cow/calf operation on site as well as seven (7) sheep. In addition, we have a 10,000 square foot vegetable garden. Crops from the vegetable operation are processed by our students then returned to our school cafeterias for use in the daily meals. The Lab has also supplied the schools with beef raised on the Land Lab and processed locally by Smith Valley Meats, a local USDA certified butcher. Students are involved in all aspects of the operation from establishing the infrastructure of the facilities to heard management, as well as crop and pasture improvements. We are in close proximity to and have a great working relationship with Virginia Tech and the Virginia Cooperative Extension on many fronts, which gives our high school students the opportunity to learn from and be involved with the vet school and college of Agriculture and life science. Within the agriculture classes, we follow the approved CTE curriculum and obtain their completers needed for each course with BQA certifications or green house operator certifications. However the Land Lab is not strictly for traditional agriculture students. We also have been creating opportunities for Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Family & Consumer Science, and Engineering lessons/classes. We also carry our love of agriculture and teaching philosophy into the elementary schools doing soil composition and plant and animal life cycle programs for students in grades K-7. The Land Lab is a year round operation that has students on site throughout the school year and the summer through the Access to Community College Education Program (ACCE) http://nr.edu/foundation/acce.php and summer youth work program in conjunction with Good Will Industries. The mission of the Land Lab is to provide classroom quality instruction using an agriculture base that utilizes a "learning by doing" philosophy while incorporating math, reading, social studies; and physical, chemical, and biological sciences into each course. We propose to display a slide show of photos showing what activities the students have participated in, as well as our achievements. During this slide show we will discuss in detail the purpose of the activity and take any questions as we go through. Our purpose is to share our successes and assist other school districts in starting their own programs.


Julie Bennington

Bedford County School Board, VSBA Southern Region Chair


Ben Woods

Ben Woods is the Manager of the Agricultural Land Lab in Giles county VA. Ben has a degree in Agriculture | Technology from Virginia Tech. He has been a lifelong agriculture producer, after graduating from Virginia Tech he | worked as an operations manager at General Motors Saturn plant in Spring Hill, TN for 6 years. Coming home to | southwest VA in 2001 Ben worked as a chemical process leader for Celanese Acetate and then came to work with... Read More →

Thursday November 17, 2016 10:15am - 11:15am
Colony D

Attendees (4)