EARLY CO., GA (WALB) - High school students in Early County have been able to take agricultural classes for some time now.
Thanks to a new grant from Monsanto, the elementary school will now have a program of their own.
While traditional classroom learning techniques are still important, educators are coming up with new ways to engage students.
"Technology is great but there is something to be said about getting your hands dirty," said fifth grade teacher Tim Spooner.
During this program, students will get their hands dirty while learning about the county's number one industry.
"We are an agriculture community," said Spooner. "It is something our families talk about around the dinner table and at churches."
A $1,200 grant from ADM at the end of last year paid for some of gardening beds at the elementary school.
"It was magical for our kids and we were like we want to expand the program," said Spooner.
Students in the fourth and fifth grades got to plant strawberries last year.
Kamron Henderson was one of those students.
"We had to grow them and put seeds and water in them," said Henderson. "We had to measure the cups of water that we had to use."
Jackie Williams is a teacher at the school. She helped students with the planting last spring.
"I love the fact that now those kids have ownership of that garden and to see what goes on with it and the planting. It is not just something they watch, it's something they are a part of and that they do," said Williams.
Monsanto's America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program awards $2.3 million in math and science grants to school districts annually.
This year, the company gave Early County Elementary School a $10,000 grant that will allow students to continue their agricultural education.
"Everything in our community revolves around agriculture, so this is just a natural fit for us," said Spooner.
With the money, the school hopes to build a hoop house, outdoor classroom and woodland garden.
It will allow kids to plant even more produce that will then be used in school lunchrooms rooms and even be sold to the public.
The city of Blakely is also on board. They will be helping set up water hoses for the gardens.