Michigan Farm Bureau Contributes $10,000 to IQhub Grant Fund

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  • April 17, 2014
Wayne Wood presents a check to Troy Bancroft, Burt Henry

Wayne Wood presents a check to Troy Bancroft, Burt Henry

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Farm Bureau’s April board meeting was a highlight for Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers Outreach and Education Manager Burt Henry. Henry, who joined the AgroLiquid team in August, 2013, after 27 years as an ag teacher at Alma High School in Alma, Mich., has spent the past nine months overseeing the company’s IQhub project.

Occupying more than 9,500 square feet in the new AgroLiquid World Headquarters in St. Johns, Mich., the IQhub is an interactive center for agricultural history, exploration and innovation. Free to the public and featuring more than 23 museum-quality exhibits on the evolution of the agriculture industry in America, Henry says the IQhub is slated to open this summer. “With shrinking education budgets, many schools don’t have the funds to take kids on educational field trips anymore,” said Henry, “Farm Bureau’s contribution will help schools bring students to the IQhub where they’ll learn about history, science and technology.”

Michigan Farm Bureau President Wayne Wood presented the $10,000 check to Henry and AgroLiquid President Troy Bancroft during the Michigan Farm Bureau April board meeting. “100% of contributions go directly to schools to help fund their travel expenses,” said Henry.

Greenstone Farm Credit Services has also contributed to the fund. They presented Henry with a $2,500 check in March.

Schools interested in receiving a travel grant to cover the cost of bringing students to the IQhub during the 2014-15 school year can contact Henry at iqhub@agroliquid.com.

One Comment

  • Faye Cerku says:

    We are Beyond the seed and we are going to start teaching Hydroponics this spring and we are looking for your support in the way of a donation.
    Please read about us below from the new paper and feel free to look at our web site listed at the end.

    Thank you in advance for your support.

    Gus Cerku Jr.

    Flowers soon will spill over the sides of these hanging pots at Beyond the Seed Greenhouse and Gardens. PHOTO/PAIGE BROCKWAY
    OU News Bureau
    Spring is in the air, and so are the hanging flower baskets at Beyond the Seed Greenhouse and Gardens.
    The greenhouse, which is at Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center in Macomb County’s Ray Township, is home to a youth entrepreneurship program that educates kids about farming, business and serving the community.
    After being essentially dormant since November, the greenhouse is now full of life as youths age 9 to 17 plant flowers and vegetables for spring and summer.

    Students prepare flowers and vegetables for the season. PHOTO/PAIGE BROCKWAY
    Every year, the kids get to decide what they want to plant — right down to the colors.
    “It’s all youth-based,” said Ashley Cerku, co-founder of the entrepreneurship program. “They tell us what they want to grow and how much they want to grow.”
    This year, they’re planting geraniums, begonias, million bells, petunias, supertunias and three different types of daisies, which will be planted around the metropark’s property and available for purchase in baskets and flats beginning May 10.
    They’re also planting tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, squash, broccoli, cucumbers, banana peppers and bush pickles, which will be transplanted to an outdoor garden at the end of spring. Customers will be able to buy vegetables and starter vegetable plants later in the year.
    Greenhouses operate through synchronization of insulation, heating, piping and fans. Each individual plant gets its own water dripper or sprayer, which is timed to go off at least once per day. The greenhouse is insulated by two layers of plastic, but is automatically heated on especially cold nights.
    One side of the greenhouse is kept hotter than the other, and the kids in the youth program have to check the temperatures every day and make sure everything is going according to plan.

    Faye Cerku shows youth entrepreneurs how to transplant begonias before putting them to work. PHOTO/PAIGE BROCKWAY
    When the store opens, the kids will also help sell flowers, work the cash register and provide customer service.
    “Camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment of basically creating their own products is the goal,” Cerku said.
    The 3,000-square-foot greenhouse is entering its second full year of operation and was created through a partnership between Beyond the Seed and Wolcott Farm. The youth entrepreneurship program is managed by Wolcott Farm employee Faye Cerku.
    Beyond the Seed is a Michigan-based group project — all seeds and starter plugs come from Michigan growers, and all other materials are purchased from or donated by Michigan distributors.
    The program receives support from Wolcott Farm and donations from the community. Beyond the Seed doesn’t keep any of the greenhouse’s profit — 20 percent goes to Wolcott Farm, and the rest is divvied up between the kids based on the hours they worked.
    “We are all grateful and thankful for the opportunities that have been given to us to help further this youth entrepreneurship program,” Ashley Cerku said.
    Beyond the Seed also hosts kid-based events during the warmer months of the year, including tea parties and painting in the garden. Wolcott Farm offers programs for schools, scouts and families.
    For more information about Beyond the Seed and its upcoming seasonal events, visit http://www.beyond-the-seed.com/ or visit Facebook.

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