Canton FFA wins at Farm Show Group's 'Edible Landscape' takes second place in competition
When most people were plowing under their gardens this fall, some Canton FFA members were just getting started with theirs.
In September, the students planted corn, beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, lettuce, and cabbage in the greenhouse behind Canton High School.
It was all part of their effort to compete in the Pennsylvania Farm Show, currently being held in Harrisburg. They used the plants grown in the greenhouse for their landscape display that was entered in the landscape competition at the farm show.
And all their hard work paid off.
At the farm show, the Canton FFA's landscape placed second out of eleven landscapes from across the state, according to FFA advisor Tom Hojnowski.
The theme for the landscape competition was "Edible Landscape." Their creation will remain on display through Saturday, Jan. 12, which is the last day of the farm show.
The FFA students' landscape featured a fruit stand, with vegetables growing all around it. Some Pennsylvania-produced fruits were placed on the stand.
"We grew three rows of corn," Hojnowski said. "The corn was tasseling out. We built a trellis, and started pole beans. By the time we got to the show, the beans were all the way to the top of the trellis."
Hojnowski said it was a challenge to grow the plants in the greenhouse. Artificial lighting had to be used, due to the days getting shorter, and they had to keep the bugs under control.
Interestingly, the fruit stand and the trellis were made out of boards from an old barn owned by Irene Matson of Alba. The barn had collapsed in the snow a year or two ago.
Hojnowski described the display as "rustic looking."
"It looks great," Hojnowski said.
The triumph was especially sweet for the Canton FFA.
The organization has been competing in the landscape contest six or seven years at the farm show. Usually, members placed close to the bottom each time, according to Hojnowski.
Hojnowski said he was surprised by the win this year.
"This comes after a number of years of practice and experimentation in past farm shows and months of preparation which started before the start of this school year," he said.
The Canton FFA members attended the show from Jan. 4-6. They set up the landscape, greeted at the main entrances, and worked the Pennsylvania FFA food booth.
They included Whitney Baxter, the landscape chairperson; Vanessa Bonnell; Trever Hartford; Caleb Jackson; Austin Guindon; Ben Bly; Tifani Bassett; Madison Riggs; and Victoria Burgess.
Hojnowski said several companies supported the landscape through donations. They are Talisman, Rockwell Feed on Canton, and Cummings Lumber of Troy.
In addition to the landscape, the Canton FFA also has a window display concerning the impact of natural gas drilling and exploration on exhibit at the farm show. The Canton FFA placed 11th out of 20 with this display at the show.
In addition, the Canton FFA has a "careers video" available for viewing at the farm show. The FFA members made the video this year, which focuses on former Canton FFA member Kristin (Meuse) Pepper. She attended Mansfield University for geography and now works at the Bradford County Conservation District, and comes back to Canton to work with the FFA members. It also features Dr. Russell Dodson from MU.
The video can be seen at the following web site: http://www.lancasterfarming.com/video/ or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPlBIbkq6H4 .
Hojnowski said the video is one of many which are being voted on at the Lancaster Farming booth at the farm show. He said 11 other schools also made videos.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.