The intro and advanced agriculture classes are available to 6th, 7th and 8th graders 3-4 days a week.
LEXINGTON, SC — A new agriculture program is starting in Lexington One, a historically agriculture-focused region.
According to the census of agriculture, there are more than 1,100 farms in Lexington County.
This class is the first of its kind, with the only other class offered in the district in Pelion.
Turns out a little fresh air, mulch moving and watering plants carries a lot more meaning now to students at Lakeside Middle School.
“We have tilapia and we’re going to be cooking it and we have to eat it and then we’re planting flowers and we have actually some pepper plants and we’re planting some pea plants right now,” Lila Willie, sixth grader said.
This sixth grade agriculture class is not only learning how to take care of their environment, they’re learning life skills, too.
“We will cover everything from commercial food production, which we don’t do here, it’s on a much smaller scale. We’ll also touch on forestry, tree ID, wildlife management, greenhouse care. , so they’ll learn some less traditional means of food production as well,” agriculture teacher Tyler Pittman said.
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Other classes get to use this space, too.
“Our social studies teachers use it a lot too because we talk about victory gardens in WWII or contributions of early Americans, early African Americans in North America to southern cuisine and what we grow in each season,” Pittman said.
Tyler Pittman and Lauren Larmon tell News 19 that they were burnt out from teaching during the COVID years but pitched this idea to their principal as a last ditch effort, who loved it. Now that they’re certified to teach agriculture, they turned their hobby into their career.
“Teaching has become really stressful for a lot of people and I think if you’re not doing something that you are so deeply passionate about and you want to share something you love that it has become even harder,” agriculture teacher Lauren Larmon said.
The kids love this class, too.
“My dad’s a landscaper and he actually graduated from ag school and he told me that he really liked it and he thought that I’d be why into it so that’s I chose it,” sixth grader Evans Herndon said.
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The class is offered to the sixth, seventh and eighth graders three to four days a week.
According to these Lexington One agriculture teachers, they hope to teach 500 students by the end of this school year with demand for the classes growing.
They also tell News 19 they’re looking to start up a Future Farmers of America program soon.