Bob Evans Restaurants is paying homage to its founder’s farming roots by supporting and inspiring the next generation of agricultural leaders through its ongoing partnership with the National FFA Organization. As a continued investment, Bob Evans Restaurants is awarding supervised agriculture experience (SAE) project grants to nine high school student FFA members located across the country. This grant program also solidifies the brand’s commitment to our nation’s farming community and the spirit of innovation that brings the freshest foods to its restaurants and family tables across America.
Applications for new, or expanded, SAE grant projects opened in the fall of 2020. The SAE projects are a requirement all FFA members must complete and consist of the students either creating and operating an agriculture-related business, working at an agriculture-related business, or conducting an agricultural research experience. Each recipient will receive $1,000 to help them achieve the goals they outlined for their SAE project this year. Upon completion, FFA members must submit a comprehensive report about their career development experience.
The funds from Bob Evans Restaurants will assist the high school students with entrepreneurial agriculture projects, such as expanding an organic garden to help feed their local community and growing fresh produce to assist local businesses. These experiential projects will help students learn more about agriculture, as well as how to run a business firsthand.
The 2021 recipients were selected from more than 5,968 applications nationwide. Individuals who received grants and their anticipated projects include:
- Lizzy Brown, Columbia, Missouri, plans to cultivate fresh vegetables and herbs to sell during a community event. Proceeds of the event will be donated to Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation, created to find a cure for cancer and support local families.
- Brooklin Drake, Marathon, New York, will hone entrepreneurial skills by growing and selling pumpkins and flowers in the community using a new greenhouse purchased with funds from the grant.
- Ryan Kaverman, Spencerville, Ohio, is going to expand an existing vegetable plot by testing soil nutrient levels in order to increase yields and will utilize social media to sell crops to the public.
- Alex Kellersmith, Houston, Ohio, will produce new vegetable starters to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables to sell at a roadside stand in Lockington, Ohio.
- Hayden Mowery, Houston, Ohio, seeks to increase garden space to expand the production of corn, cucumbers, squash and watermelon and begin selling produce this summer to make money for the State FFA Degree.
- Amanda Niemann, Litchfield, Illinois, will learn agricultural and entrepreneurial skills by growing and selling sweet corn in different plots across an acre of land.
- Lily-Kate Noel, Oregon, Missouri, plans to expand the growing and selling of pumpkins, corn, mums and other flowers by acquiring more acreage and purchasing a greenhouse.
- Shelby Serrano, Camden, Delaware, will raise a variety of vegetables and herbs in a new greenhouse using drip irrigation systems to supply local businesses with organic materials.
- Jayla Washington, Meggett, South Carolina, will expand an organic farm and add composting practices to provide quality, organic produce to soup kitchens around Charleston.