The next generation of Delaware farmers

Delaware high school students now have a unique opportunity to learn some real-world skills, thanks to a partnership with a local farm.

The Colonial School District announced it is teaming up with Penn Farm, known to many as Quigley Farm, during a grand opening celebration Friday. Located next to William Penn High School in New Castle, district officials say the farm will integrate WPHS students into all aspects of Penn Farm’s day-to-day operations.

“We’re going to be working with the Horticulture Department as well as the Floriculture so there’s going to be a lot of skill sets for how to grow food,” said Colonial’s Superintendent Dr. Dorothy Linn.

But the learning is not limited only to farming and agriculture. Dr. Linn says the Culinary Arts Department at WPHS will use the food to promote healthy lifestyles, students interested in business and marketing can learn management and marketing while promoting the farm’s produce stand, and there’s also an opportunity for students interested in graphic design to develop marketing brochures, menus and event programs.

“For our students, it’s very important not just to have the type of learning where a teacher is standing in front of a classroom and preaching and teaching to the students,” said Dr. Linn. “It needs to be hands-on, project learning for our students and our staff so that they can learn and do at the same time and be able to extend their skill set out to the real world.”

The Penn Farm project is part of Colonial’s Race to the Top plan, as approved by the Delaware Department of Education. In addition to providing an interactive type of education to students, the project’s mission also aims to improve the lives of Delawareans through the sale, production and promotion of local produce and agricultural products.

The Dept. of Education says the project has the potential to involve more than 400 students in its first year.

The non-profit group, Delaware Greenways, will manage and operate the farm, which education leaders say will eventually extend trips to grade K-8 students.

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