The agriculture program at Warren East High School in Warren County is using a Better Days Through Better Ways Grant from the Kentucky FFA Foundation to teach students from start-to-finish how they can help address food insecurity in their own community.
Agriculture teacher Harley McIntyre applied for the grant to help fund a project to raise, process and donate poultry to those in the community who are food insecure. McIntyre’s students incubated and hatched out eggs from a variety of poultry. Students cared for and raised the chicks, taking responsibility for everything from monitoring the humidity level in the incubator to building the coop for the growing chickens.
The goal was to raise chickens to maturity, then process the birds and donate them to community members who attended workshops about small-scale poultry production. The benefits would be two-fold: not only would attendees receive a ready-to-cook chicken, but they would learn how to start their own backyard flock. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic put a hold on those plans for the first year, but McIntyre kept the birds at her home while school was out, and her students picked back up with the project this past August.
This year McIntyre’s students have processed mature birds using the state’s mobile poultry processing lab, and have donated the finished product to community organizations that help distribute the food.
Better Days Through Better Ways grants are funded by the Mulhollem Cravens Foundation through a partnership with the Kentucky FFA Foundation. Since 2014, Mulhollem Cravens has funded 76 Better Days Through Better Ways projects across Kentucky.