COMMUNITY

This high school requires students to learn agriculture before graduating

A school located on 350 acres (141 hectares) near Ohio in the USA requires that its students take a four-year farming course before they leave the institution.

Olney Friends School was founded in 1837 to serve the children of Quaker families, the members of the Ohio Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, which were migrants from South Ohio.

Four years ago, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognized Olney as the first certified organic campus.

The school has a farm for numerous animals such as beef cattle, goats, and both laying and meat chickens. Beekeeping has recently been added to further diversify the farm experience. Students actively participate in growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs, as well as producing hay for the animals. The school also makes and uses its own compost from the school’s kitchen waste and animal manure.

As with its farming experience, Olney’s student body is very diverse, with 30% international students comprising its whole population. Being a boarding school, students live on campus full time. The food that the cafeteria serves come from their farm or near the area. They also practice making kimchi, preserves, and noodles from the cabbages, strawberries, and eggs that they harvest.

Aside from producing their own food, the students also take part in caring for the animals in the farm. They are tasked to feed the pigs and even take charge of birthing goats and taking care of the kids. These activities bring the students out of their comfort zones and encourage them to think critically and be open to new experiences.

Even though identified as a farming school, it is not Olney’s goal to produce farmer graduates but to shape smart consumers with social awareness that understand the complex systems of achieving sustainability.

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Agriculture Monthly magazine is the Philippines' best-selling magazine on all things agriculture. It is packed with information and inspiration on how to make the most of your farm or garden.

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