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Lucy Whitehead

FFA and Campbell's Soup revive the American icon: the barn

Lucy Whitehead talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR

Written by Mary-Clare Liening

Lucy Whitehead, Program Manager for the National FFA Alumni Association, talks about the FFA’s involvement with Campbell’s Soup Company in the Help Grow Your Soup Program.

“What we do is we create your future leaders in agriculture through leadership, through community service, and then, of course, through the classroom learning,” says Whitehead.

The National FFA, also known as Future Farmers of America, is a leadership-based organization that focuses primarily on agricultural education in high schools and middle schools across the nation.  The group took part in a joint effort with Campbell’s Soup Company to spearhead a campaign called Help Grow Your Soup.

“Campbell’s actually came up with this fantastic idea, they want to educate people about where our food comes from, and they were looking for an organization that could help them do that,” says Whitehead.  “There’s no better organization than FFA and FFA Alumni to help achieve that goal of educating the nation, and hopefully the world, about where our food comes from.”

In order to spread awareness about produce to communities throughout the nation, the two organizations implemented a program that would reconstruct barns that were in need of repair.

“We wanted to think about icons, and if you think about a farming icon, the barn is the first thing you think of,” says Whitehead.  “So the Help Grow Your Soup Campaign was a way for us to say a very nice thank you to production agriculture and teaching facilities by reviving a structure – the barn, and giving it back to them, so hopefully they’ll stand for a hundred years or more.”

Barns throughout the U.S. went through an application process that was narrowed through a nation-wide voting contest in which the top five were selected – two of which are located in Michigan.  Of the two barns, one was the Charles L. Bowers School Farm Barn, just outside of Detroit.

“That barn was the top collecting vote-getter, and it had a huge following of support because of where it was located and its fantastic story,” said Whitehead.  “It is a school barn, it’s located in a very suburban-urban type of area, it’s got an outpouring of community support, it’s a place where a lot of individuals get to see agriculture in its growth, and it has a great impact on students’ lives.  It’s a great educational facility, and the community knows it.”

Click on the arrow above to hear Whitehead’s September 3 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs Friday evenings at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.

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