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On Thursday, May 15, 250 high school students from over 30 Massachusetts communities from Boston to the Berkshires participated in the 27th annual Massachusetts Envirothon, hosted at Sholan Farms in Leominster.

As part of this annual outdoor field competition, the Bay State teens focused on sustainable local agriculture and were asked to consider: “what can your community contribute to the transition to a sustainable food and fiber system?” Teams researched the current issue in preparation for a 15 minute presentation.  Teams were asked to assess sustainable agriculture in their community and to recommend steps that their city or town and individuals, including young people, should take to support local farming and food production. They were evaluated by a panel of judges that included environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry.

The Massachusetts Envirothon is a program of the Massachusetts State Commission for Conservation of Soil, Water & Related Resources; however dozens of volunteers from a variety of local organizations donate their time, resources and funding to make this event an annual success. This year, Plant Something MA hosted a community planting event and educational table. Teens from Leominster High and Quabbin Regional High joined Nancy Garrabrant from UMass Extension to plant petunias at the entrance of Sholan Farms. Each year on May 15, Plant Something MA promotes community planting events across the Commonwealth to encourage individuals to take part in a planting event that supports Bay State greenhouse growers and nurseries.

The Plant Something MA educational table offered each registered Envirothon Team an opportunity to grow a giant pumpkin plant as part of the South Shore Great Pumpkin Challenge. Teens were also given lettuce and herb seeds to plant at home and encouraged to visit the Plant Something MA website for planting tips and gardening resources.

It was a day filled with a genuine spirit of stewardship and community camaraderie driven by our next generation’s enthusiasm and energy committed to supporting and making sustainable changes to the food system.

Written By:

DAR Program Coordinator

With a background in the culinary arts, nutrition education and program development, Julia joined The Department of Agricultural Resources Division of Agricultural Markets in 2008 to help spread the word about Massachusetts’ incredible agricultural and culinary opportunities. She also coordinates several grant and marketing programs available to a diversified group of growers and agricultural associations across the Commonwealth. A Boston University graduate, she can be found in her spare time sourcing out the best local products for her next culinary creation or volunteering in the community.

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