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CEDAR KEY FFA ‘Making an impact’

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The Cedar Key FFA chapter has been awarded $2,500 as part of the inaugural FFA: Food For All program.
The nationwide program provides grant money to local FFA chapters to help support year-long-service-learning projects focused on developing and implementing sustainable hunger relief projects.
The Cedar Key FFA chapter has been helping to fight hunger in several ways. First, the chapter raised food fish in a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and at the end of the school year, filleted the fish and donated them to the Cedar Key food pantry.
The second project happened by default. One of the FFA members’ show pig did not make the minimum weight for the fair, so the chapter purchased the pig from the member and paid Chiefland Custom Meats to process the animal. All of the meat was given to the food pantry.
A volunteer at the food pantry wrote an thank you letter to the chapter stating that over 150 people were fed from the donation.
A small garden is being grown at school to provide fresh vegetables to the food pantry.
Once school was out, seven members on the Food For All comittee ventured offshore on a fishing expedition, and all fish were donated to the pantry as well.Future plans include more of the same but also the FFA chapter plans to hold workshops this fall open to the public concerning sustainable agriculture and aquaculture.
If you would like to help either financially or physically, please contact FFA advisor, Denny Voyles at: voylesd@levy.k12.fl.us, or call 352-339-2034.
Some of the groups’ current needs are: rain barrels for water conservation, $25 steel panels for a portable chapter hog pen to be built this fall, and cash donations for fertilizer,  irrigation supplies, fish food, etc.
Lauren Bartholemy, current FFA president and committee member, stated, “The handwritten thank you letter from the food pantry was so touching it brought tears to my eyes, it is such a wonderful feeling to help those in need.”
Sixth grader MacKenzie Kirkbride said, “Being on the Food For All committee and doing these wonderful things has made a positive impact on my life, it makes me feel proud that we are making a difference in our community.”
Sarah Bartholemy, a tenth grader-to-be explains, “I feel like we are extremely blessed in having this opportunity – and it is awesome to know that even a small school such as ours can make an impact in feeding America”.
The FFA: Food For All grant is administered by the National FFA Organization, with funding provided by Farmers Feeding the World and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The program provided $330,000 to FFA chapters in 41 states. More information can be found at www.FFA.org/foodforall