The Waipahu Intermediate FFA Chapter is regarded as a model FFA program in Hawaii. It is one of only two middle school FFA chapters in the state and the only middle school chapter on Oahu. While it’s on a smaller scale, the 150 members of this urban chapter learn big lessons about agriculture and food. They maximize lawn space on the school grounds, build their own raised garden beds and grow their own vegetables as part of their supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs).
Ag education there captures students’ attention and wins them over for FFA. “FFA is like one big ohana [family], and it’s amazing that you can share your passions in agriculture with people across the country,” says member Kayla Nguyen.
I recently visited the Waipahu Intermediate FFA Chapter and its counterpart, Waipahu High School FFA, situated about 30 minutes west of Honolulu, to learn more. It was a fascinating lesson in Hawaiian agriculture and FFA history, and a firsthand look at an agricultural education ecosystem that succeeds. You can learn more in “One Big Ohana”.
I want to also acknowledge that as I write this letter, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected much of the world. Schools and businesses have gone remote, and we practice social distancing to stop the spread of the virus. It’s an unnerving time, but FFA members have still found ways to step up. We’ll share some of those stories in the future.
Finally, we have some changes coming to FFA New Horizons. Starting with the fall 2020 issue, you’ll start receiving the magazine twice a year – at the beginning of the school year and at the beginning of the New Year – with more great content per issue. You’ll see eve