agriculture education

Math, English and Social Studies are all important subjects, but at Joshua Academy in Evansville, students are given the opportunity to study the most important subject of all – life.

Joshua Academy’s founder, Rev. Larry Rascoe, believes that agriculture is the one thing that touches everybody, every day. Rascoe raises Kinko, Lamancha and Savannah goats on a 200-head goat farm, and allows students to learn-by-doing by assisting with daily tasks. Cleaning pens, trimming hooves and animal husbandry activities teach students about responsibility and hard work.

In addition to helping with Rascoe’s goats, Joshua Academy students cultivate a variety of produce in 35 raised beds and tend to a flock of chickens.

“In the raised beds, we have grown lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, turnips, cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelons, onions, potatoes, cantaloupe and peppers, just to name a few,” says Pamela Decker, principal for Joshua Academy. “We hold two farmers markets at the school in October and June, so our families may buy fresh brown eggs and produce from our garden.”

The farmers markets are run entirely by the students, from weighing the produce, to bagging and labeling it, to making change for the customer.

All proceeds from the markets go to supplies and production costs to keep this program running, year after year.

The farmers markets are not only a source of revenue, but allow students to understand the time and effort that goes into producing their food.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the school is able to hire a full-time agriculture teacher and ensure that each of the 247 students, enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade, gets the opportunity to experience agriculture.

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Hatching fertilized eggs and raising the chicks to adulthood has been one of the most rewarding projects for the students.

“The students learned this year that the ‘pecking order’ really comes from chickens pecking each other to establish dominance,” Decker says. “It has been a tremendous learning experience, and we continue to learn something new every day at the farm.”

With an enthusiastic faculty and community, Joshua Academy continues to provide a rich and diverse education.


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