Thorsby plans for Agricultural and Culinary CenterBy Stephen Dawkins Published 1:11pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013
One might assume children in an agricultural area such as Chilton County would be familiar with growing and cooking their own food.
Not so, according to Thorsby agri-science teacher Brian Lucas, who helped his students develop a produce garden on school grounds.
“These kids were so excited about planting something,” Lucas said. “They had no idea what it was all about.”
Students at the school could soon enjoy enhanced instruction, after the Chilton County Board of Education purchased about six acres near the school to be used as the “Thorsby Agricultural and Culinary Center.”
Lucas and Rachel Rachels, a family and consumer science teacher at the school, talked to a crowd of more than 30 people about their vision for the property.
“This facility over here can give us the opportunity to learn by doing,” Lucas said.
Monday’s event was held at the property, which is the site of the building that served as the boys’ dormitory for Thorsby Institute. It’s the last standing structure that was part of the school.
Guests, including school board members, state Rep. Kurt Wallace and others, heard a welcome from Thorsby Principal Russ Bryan and then enjoyed a full meal prepared and served by some of Rachels’ students.
Some of the ingredients used had been grown by students under Lucas’ guidance.
Some of the students spoke to those in attendance about the importance of the programs.
“I think this facility and the garden and the awesome teachers that we have…I think that will help them,” Alex Dawson said about his classmates and students who would come after him.
According to information distributed by program officials, plans are for the property to serve as a school garden and outdoor kitchen, eventually featuring a greenhouse, chicken coop, pavilion, large grills, stainless steel tables, a demonstration table, compartment sinks and a refrigerator.
“It is our ultimate goal to make our students ready for life,” read a project description distributed at the event. “We also want to expose them to various opportunities for career exploration and career building skills.
“In our society, it is imperative that students learn the strategies that make them self-sufficient. It’s our duty to provide our students an opportunity to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle.
“We have combined all of these aspirations to create the Thorsby Agricultural and Culinary Center.”