Tue May 22, 2012
For first time in years, Milwaukee schools hire agriculture teacher
For the first time in more than twenty years, a school in the Milwaukee Public School district will hire an agriculture teacher.
The last agriculture program in the Milwaukee Public School District closed shop in the early 1990s. But now, Vincent High School, in northwest Milwaukee is re-embracing its ag education heritage with a modern twist. It's offering classes this fall that will focus mostly on urban agriculture. Lauren Baker is the Milwaukee Public School District's career and technical education coordinator. She says this will be new territory for many kids.
"This is going to be an introduction to a whole new world, kids who like chemistry know there’s a place to apply it, kids who like biology realize they have fields they can go into in this sort of burgeoning industry," she says.
Milwaukee isn’t alone among cities that are either considering, or already have, urban agriculture programs in the public schools. Jeff Hicken is an Agriculture Education Consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He says Chicago has had a program for several years, while Philadelphia, and Lincoln, Nebraska are in the early stages of developing their own.
"This is big for us, we’re extremely excited about this," he says. "You know if we look at title urban with Milwaukee coming on, we have a program in Oshkosh, we have a program in Green Bay, and Eau Claire.
Hicken says while Vincent High School will again offer agriculture classes this fall, there are no immediate plans to start up a Future Farmers of America chapter at the school.