Submitted by: Rene’ McCracken, Director of Agriculture NTCC
Celebrating National Ag Day At NTCC
NTCC students and faculty are working determinedly to prepare the Sustainable Market Garden for the 4th annual March into Agriculture experience set for March 31st. “In response to and celebration of National Ag Week, we are delighted to open our gates and share our farm with the community in hopes to initiate an appreciation for farming.” said Director Rene’ McCracken. “While we cannot hope to have a “perfect” farm we do strive to provide a living example of what is possible for small farm operators in northeast Texas.”
Building a Sustainable Market Farm
Historically, at 2886 FM 1735 in Mount Pleasant there was a 400 acre cattle ranch that bore the Northeast Campus in 1985. In the beginning, 250 acres remained a cow and calf operation for NTCC and Ag students to have labs. Later, the completion of the Elizabeth Hoggatt Whatley Complex in 2011 also added the new Sustainable Agriculture Degree and Certification options. This launched the idea of building a Sustainable Market Farm to serve as a living lab for the students to apply classroom instruction to actual farm projects. The result today is a traditional cattle ranch and sustainable market farm for our students and community to see and learn from. Creative ideas continue to come from student and staff plus resources from grants and private donations to build the dream farm. SARE or Sustainable Agriculture Research Education is such a grant focused on educating producers and consumers on the benefits of sustainable agriculture practices. This event is funded in part by a SARE Education Grant to improve and design on-line curriculum. Visitors will be able to get a sneak peak of the lessons built thus farm. Current demonstration projects include: Soil health building, Keyhole garden, compost tea, meat goats, backyard chicken flock for egg production, weeding geese, cover crops for gardens and pastures, Kune Kune Pig project, muscadine vineyard, greenhouse production of vegetable transplants, rainwater harvesting and run-off management. Each of these sustainable spaces will be open for free hands-on access to experience a sustainable farm in action. This year will even be more interactive – starting at 1 pm March 31st you can pitch in with our crew to build and expand our huglekultur gardening beds! Don’t worry it’s easier done than said!
NTCC Farm School Tours: We especially want to invite area school and daycare groups to tour the farm and help us “stock the shelves” of our NTCC Eagle Pantry. Price of admission for the day – just 1 canned food item per guest or $1! Come out to NTCC Farm Open House/Farm – Fri. March 31, 1o am to 2 pm. Click here to RSVP
NO FOOLING OR KIDDING AROUND!
Plant Sale and Goat Yoga
The fun continues on Sat – April 1st beginning at 10 am. Stop by and purchase plants, or just come and spend the day with us. For more info: contact Rene’ McCracken at 903-434-8267 email@example.com or check us www.ntcc.edu/ag or follow us at NTCC Ag Department on Facebook.