With an introduction through former State Senator Brenda Council, Girls Inc. is currently partnering with George Washington Carver of Omaha Grange and Riverview Grange to teach girls about crops, crop seasons, and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) aspects of agriculture. The local Granges are part of a larger organization which has representation at the county, the state and national levels. Nationally, the Grange was started in 1867, just a few years after Girls Inc. (then Girls Club) was established in the United States. The national website mentions that historically, they support social reform including women’s suffrage – a point of common interest.
The primary goal of the Carver Grange of Omaha (CarGO) is to expand hands-on applied STEM education and develop transferrable leadership skills in youth while cultivating an interest in food and related agriculture educational opportunities and careers. CarGO’s vision is to collaborate to make husbandry relevant in modern and urban society.
The Riverview Grange was formed to meet community, and social needs, as well as to promote desirable legislative initiatives. Members advocate for agriculture and many, but not all, of the original members were farmers.
Through the Grange partnership, urban girls from Omaha have an opportunity to visit a farm and learn more about planting, growing, and harvesting crops. The girls will also visit a livestock farm. For their first partnership field trip, May 7, 2022, the girls visited Joe Fryman’s farm, Big Red Shed. The girls learned about testing the soil for nutrients and had the opportunity to use a hand tool to take a soil sample for evaluating. They learned about the irrigation system used as well as farm machinery and equipment. The girls actually planted some seeds for corn plants. They will return to the farm to learn more about the next cycles of managing crops. In addition to STEM, the girls will learn about college opportunities and potential careers in agriculture.
We look forward to the next series of field trips and the opportunity to further develop the relationships and understanding between urban and rural folks in our state.