TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) – Students at Cultivate Academy, a full-time learning environment for students of all ages at Temple, now spend a few days a week on a seven-acre farm, learning entrepreneurial, agricultural, engineering and STEM.
“Cultivate Academy was created this year,” said Doree Collins, owner and executive director of Cultivate Academy. “We are super excited. Our group is called the “Pioneers”. This is our pilot year to create an academy system or process where kids come in every day like they would in public school or wherever, and they spend a day together.
Students spend three days a week learning at the Cultivate Events and Enrichment Center, and the other two days they spend connecting with nature at the Unincluded Club Urban Farm.
“The club’s urban farm not included, where we really focus on the urban AG aspect of the Academy,” Collins said.
The farm is where they participate in hands-on learning activities like learning how to plant herbs and spices, grow and harvest microgreens, and even build gardens.
Collins said she also teaches students about the benefits of nature, life skills, engineering and entrepreneurship.
“The benefit is just being in nature, having this space where it’s still intentional, but it gives them the freedom to just be,” she said. “If you create an environment that is conducive to the kind of learning you want, you will get the learning and you will get the process you want.”
Compared to a normal school, she said Cultivate disconnects students from electronics and the internet and reconnects them with nature.
As a former public school teacher, she wanted to give students the opportunity to have an alternative experience and environment to learn and reflect on a deeper level.
“I think that’s one of the biggest things that we understand that we’ve been disconnected from is learning life skills, but I’m a certified educator,” Collins said. “I have my masters in instructional leadership, so I’ve been in there. I know where the gaps are, and so…I took space so I could create and fill those gaps.
Alannah Kleinpeter is one of its pioneer students. She is 14 years old and would be a freshman at Temple High School.
However, her mother thought Cultivate would be a better environment for Alannah to express herself in a positive environment.
“I feel like it feels good to be able to disconnect and let nature be everywhere, and I love how we’re free spirits,” Alannah said. “We are free thinkers. We are capable of doing what is good for us. »
Alannah is also a nature lover and garden connoisseur; therefore, when the group heads to the urban farm, she is excited about what she will learn not only in the classroom, but also what she will learn from nature. She said she journaled what she learned on her daily nature walks around the property.
Alannah sees the world around her in a positive light, and the Unincluded Club’s saying is “negativity is not an option”.
“We welcome everyone with open arms,” she said. “No negativity, no bullying and no hate.”
She said it would be a great place for students who love nature and think creatively.
One of Alannah’s favorite parts is the inventive nature of growing herbs and microgreens.
Students grow and sell pea or sunflower microgreens to develop their entrepreneurial skills. They sell at Treno Pizza and Cha Community in Temple as well as fairs, farmers markets.
“This is considered a superfood because it’s nutrient-dense,” Collins said. “This is our first harvest that we have used for our entrepreneurial process.”
Microgreens are just one aspect of the nascent development of the Urban Farm. Collins hopes that over the next few years, the little cabin on a lot will become a big learning environment for students and community members.
She plans to start organizing more fundraisers, applying for grants and organizing community events on the farm.
Cultivate Academy is not yet full, so she encourages anyone interested to contact her.
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