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FFA students hold annual plant sale


Christopher Andersson

Arlington High School FFA officer Sienna Mullins, left, helps locals Ben Curley, center, and Mary Curley select some plants at the club's annual plant sale on May 5.

Arlington High School FFA students raised funds by selling plants that they have taken care of throughout the year as part of their annual Plant Sale. This year's event was held from May 4 to 6.

FFA (formerly known as Future Farmers of America) is a national club program that encourages kids to get involved in agriculture and horticulture.

"For years and years we've had a Mother's Day plant sale," said Jessica Nemnick, advisor for the program and a teacher at Arlington High School.

Included for this year's event was an "Agri-Science Fair" highlighting work from students across the district.

"Our program has changed a little bit so there are fewer students who are taking just plant biology. Now we have an animal science program and a natural resources program as well," she said. "So this year we've added what we're calling an 'Agri-Science Fair.' So we're selling plants today but we also wanted to highlight what the kids were doing in some of the other programs also."

The funds go to a variety of uses for the FFA program.

"The profit from the sale, first and foremost, goes into opportunities for kids next year," said Nemnick.

Travel costs for competitions and equipment for projects are two uses for the profits.

"For example, next week I'm actually taking 10 students out to Washington State University for a week, and they'll be competing at the state FFA convention," said Nemnick.

"It funds all the transportation to all the other competitions they do," she said.

That can include fairs, horticulture contests and veterinary competitions.

"I've gone to state, which is really nice just to get away from my family. And that sounds bad, but I've learned I can live a week without my family and actually survive," joked Sienna Mullins, an officer with the FFA club.

Equipment is also purchased with the profits from the plant sale.

"Last year we purchased a tractor. Hopefully today they're going to be going down below Post Middle School and planting a couple of acres in sweet corn," said Nemnick.

"We would like to generate money from it, but more important than that is kids going out and doing hands-on agriculture," she said.

Students with the FFA said they enjoyed the program and the ability to work with animals and plants.

"My mom grew up with a lot of animals but my dad didn't, so when they got married and had me I got some of it but not really that full immersion," said Mullins.

Mullins said she entered the program to get a science credit, "and I heard I got to work with sheep," she said, but has learned to love horticulture.

She is now interested in pursuing it for a career.

"Since I joined I have turned into a giant plant nerd. I'm actually looking into going into horticulture," she said.

FFA Treasurer Victoria Bennett said she the club has opened her interests as well.

"I like plants and I didn't used to think about it a lot but I really like them now," she said.

Christopher Andersson

Local Chris Fugier, right, hands money to Arlington High School FFA treasurer Victoria Bennett to purchase some plants at the club's annual plant sale on May 5.

Bennett also appreciates the social connections with fellow students she has made while being a part of the FFA club.

"I like the fact that I get to be involved with a lot of other people that have similar interests," she said.

"I really enjoy being able to hang out with people. I used to be really introverted and quiet but now I interact with people a lot more," she said.

Nemnick said the plant sale also helps show students how to talk with the public.

"This particular event they're engaging adults they don't know and they're learning marketing and service," she said. "It's very diverse in the kinds of opportunities they learn."

She said there are many skills that students take out of the program.

"Today it seems there's a real loss of kids understanding basic skills, but here they learn food production, and a connection to all things biology," she said.


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