Tomatoes whole and slicedAmy Beard, an algebra and horticulture science teacher, organized an annual plant sale at Brentsville District High School. According to Beard, the plant sale has taken place at Brentsville District High since the mid-1990s, when the school built their greenhouse.

As a part of the curriculum, horticulture students are largely responsible for growing and selling the plants. Several of the students are also members of the national Future Farmers of America Organization (FFA). In years prior, people browsed the plants for sale in the greenhouse and the students were the salespeople, giving them the opportunity to learn about the business side. This year, due to the coronavirus, students were only able to plant the seeds and see a few germinate before the school closed.

To help the community at large and demonstrate to students the importance of helping the community in difficult times, Beard organized a modified sale. Beard posted a list of available plants on social media and took orders via email. She named it, "Pay What You Can If You Can," asking people to donate what they could for the plants if they were able. On the designated dates, people were able to drive up to the school parking lot and Beard loaded plants into their cars. People were also able to make a donation by driving up to a mason jar to place their donation. Almost all the plants were sold by the end of the "Pay What You Can, If You Can" sale. There was approximately $3,500 in profit from the donations.

Other results from the Brentsville greenhouse include approximately 150 tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and bell peppers donated to members of Greenwich Presbyterian Church for the Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) program. PAR is a national people-helping-people program that encourages gardeners to grow extra vegetables and donate the produce to local soup kitchens and food pantries serving the homeless and hungry in their local communities.

An additional 400 plants were donated to community members in need. The spirit of generosity at the event did not end there. Several other community members offered to donate some of their home-grown produce to local churches and food banks this summer.

Beard highlighted the FFA's long history at Brentsville, "From what I can find there has been an FFA program at the school (formerly the Nokesville High School) since as early as 1936."

She continued enthusiastically about her involvement with FFA and the positive effects it has on students, "This is my first year as the FFA advisor and I am so excited about it and proud to be involved. It is a student group that focuses on premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agriculture education. It is so important to teach students about agriculture and all the different aspects and opportunities that are there." Learn more about the FFA and their values.

Other notable connections were made with the community, such as a the owner of a bee farm and honey producer who wants to offer Brentsville students internships, and Stephanie Cornnell, an owner of Kettle Wind Farm, LLC., who wants students to take care of approximately 10 acres of turf from seed to harvest starting in the fall.