The Farm is an 8-acre agriculturally based STEM site that integrates food production and sustainable practices with education. Students are provided hands-on learning opportunities in wetlands, native restoration planting areas, an orchard, and 2 acres of vegetable gardens. Students from each of the district’s high schools are bussed to the Farm daily for outdoor classes. Community Farm Days, community garden beds, and adult farming classes hosted by Harvest Pierce County invite the surrounding community to enjoy the site. Students and community volunteers grow and harvest 50,000 pounds of produce each year. That food is then shared with the Franklin Pierce central kitchen, students, families, volunteers, and the community. The Farm continues to evolve to better serve as a living laboratory where students and faculty can grow, analyze, reflect, create, and act sustainably. Students are directly linked to the outcome of their work as projects around biology, global food systems, ecology, and agriculture turn into food in school cafeterias, local food banks, CSAs, and pop-up vegetable tables, developing a holistic, community-based sense of place.
Designed to be reminiscent of traditional utility buildings found on many farms, the Agricultural Resource Center supports the operation of the Farm by offering a general education classroom, a central kitchen, administrative space, and a CTE lab. The new building will allow students of all ages an opportunity to learn about modern farming theory and techniques, analyze soil samples, explore microbiomes, and then take that newfound knowledge out to the fields to experiment in the real world.