Members of adult farmer’s class form a “vibrant” group at Aiken High School

March 21, 2019

Inside a greenhouse next to the Aiken High School football field is what some locals believe is one of the “best kept secrets” of Aiken.

The Future Farmers of America runs agricultural programs throughout the state of South Carolina. The Aiken Young Farmers Agribusiness Association has these programs at several high schools, and the adult class at Aiken High is one of the largest in the state.

“We are the only one (adult class) that meets in the whole state of South Carolina every week from September to the end of May,” said Master Gardener Gloria Wade, who is the head of the program at Aiken High. ”…We are also the only one in South Carolina with our own greenhouse.”

Each week at 5 p.m. the adult class gathers at the greenhouse off Teague Street. Some nights they have guest speakers, or they work on plants in the greenhouse.

“We have people that are Master Gardeners, people that are garden enthusiasts and people that know nothing,” Wade said.

They start doing cuttings in October before the frost comes to be planted for the next season. Vegetables, herbs and flowers are also grown.

“Today we’re sending plants home for everyone to put in their garden,” Wade said.

The adult class holds a plant sale each year. Money generated from the sale goes toward a scholarship fund for a student from Aiken High.

There is room for 40 people in the class, and this year there are 32 students. Wade said three of the attendees are graduates of Aiken High School, which is a first.

“This is my first year, and it is the most fun, the nicest group of people,” said Irene Phillips, who was at the class Monday. “It’s very entertaining.”

Patricia Lobb, another attendee, said the group was one of the “best kept secrets” in Aiken was was “vibrant.”

“What I enjoy is that everybody here has had some really interesting careers, yet they come here and learn about gardening,” Lobb said. ”…I love it, and I’ve learned so much.”

Anyone interested in signing up for the next class can email Gloria Wade at glowade@gforcecable.com.