Inman Middle School High Tunnel
In May of 2017, Allen Ashlock, Biology teacher from Inman Middle School requested a grant from the Henry County Soil Conservation District for a high tunnel for hands-on learning for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. Once the conservation district board committed to contributing to the project, work began. The project involved clearing out a wooded area on the southeast side of the school, running water and electric power to the site, as well as installing a gravel base for the footprint of the high tunnel. Once the prep work had been completed, the 20' x 72' high tunnel kit was ordered and delivered. The Henry County Soil Conservation District partnered with Farm Bureau and requested funds to have the kit assembled and installed on-site.
In the meantime, Mr. Ashlock was busying writing additional grant proposals to stock the high tunnel with the tables, germinators, and other supplies needed to get plants started. The school received a Plus Endowment grant for $5000 that helped buy a seed germinator, heater, circulation fans and other needed supplies for the high tunnel. Tosh Farms also provided a $2500 grant that has allowed the students to build raised beds, buy tools and bring in soil for planting beds.
The students were able to purchase tomato, pepper, and coleus seed and have been busy growing starter plants that will be placed in the high tunnel at the end of January. While the high tunnel was being constructed, the school also began a new FFA program, making Inman Middle School the 1st middle school in West Tennessee to have a chapter and the 10th in the entire state of Tennessee. Mr. Ashlock proudly states “The greenhouse has given our students an opportunity to learn skills that will last a lifetime, join a program that will build leadership skills and help those who wants to go to college by providing scholarships, and the food grown in the greenhouse will be used in our school cafeteria and given away to those in need in our community”.
The Henry County SCD is honored to be a partner in this project. We are excited to see new hands-on opportunities implemented within our school system and are excited to see the benefits and educational experiences the high tunnel will provide the students.