On a rainy day before the students take their Thanksgiving break, I found Hillary on the farm transforming luffa gourds into luffa sponges. The student farm grew a beautiful crop of luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca) supported by a massive bamboo trellis. The plants yielded numerous gourds which were edible when young (check out Jason’s post on 9/10 for more on that) and develop their characteristics rough fibers when they mature on the vine. Sustainable agriculture students will be able to get a farm fresh luffa at the end of the semester. For the rest of the rainy day Hillary will focus on amending the phosphorous level in one of the hoophouses and will begin to seed radish and spinach crops in the other hoophouse.
Hillary and I reflected on a class trip to Caterpillar in Sanford where we took a factory tour of the very high tech plant that produces skid steers for the national and international market. They are very proud of their recent investment in an innovative assembly line, where they stream line the building of several types of skid steers. As a the company points out they are “the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment” among other things, and I got to wondering about Caterpillar’s effect on our natural resources, the safety of our people and planet, and the supposed carbon emissions limit we are running up against. If you are like me and wonder those things, you may be interested to find out that the company has a sustainable development plan which you can read online.
According to their sustainability report in 2012, I discovered that locally Caterpillar has aided two jobs training programs in our state. In Greenville, Caterpillar supported a 12 week course run by Pitt Community College to train logging-equipment operators by donating $1.25 million dollars’ worth of Caterpillar equipment. Also in Sanford, the company runs a Caterpillar Youth Apprenticeship program training high schools in welding for two years, culminating in a certificate in welding from our very own Central Carolina Community College.
In other thoughts, the North Carolina Poultry Federation website informs me that poultry is the number one agricultural industry in the state and the state ranks number two nationally in Turkey production. I did not get to see the package my thanksgiving turkey came in, so I have little chance of tracing it back, but there is a good chance it came from one of the leading producing states (Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas and Missouri).
Enjoy the rest of the Thanksgiving break!
Published by Lauren Hill