Home' Capricornus Quarterly : CQ Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Contents A cross section of students and
curriculum come together at the School’s
smaller farm, three kilometres from
campus, seeding interest in future
careers associated with food and
textile production, env ironmental
management, land and mineral
rights, robotics, biology and more.
Students undertake project
based studies – from fruit and
vegetables, to eggs and meat.
“Just like a real-life working property,”
according to Mr Hardy Manser, who
oversees the School’s Agriculture, Home
Economics and Hospita lity programmes.
From the farm, food is transported to a
variety of locations. Fruit and vegetables,
including limes, grapefruit, mangoes,
oranges, lemons, tomatoes and herbs,
return to RGS for use in Home Economics
classes and in the RGS kitchen.
Lamb is sent to the meatworks in Monto.
Beef is entered in regional carcase
competitions and exported around
the world as a part of the commercial
supply chain. RGS RG1-branded eggs
are used in the Home Economics
Department and the School kitchen.
Mr Hardy Manser said the RGS
programmes are increasingly involving
students undertaking what are known as
‘rich tasks’, modelled on methods used
by some US Agriculture educators.
“ Students use this applied experience to
realise the opportunity to take classroom
learning into applied domains, including
understanding the purpose of agriculture
in sustainably and ethically feeding our
modern society,’’ Mr Manser said.
One of the most recent developments is
the School’s successful egg registration
programme. One of only a few schools
in Queensland who have a licence to
produce eggs, the RGS RG1 brand
registration allows students to safely
and ethically produce a paddock to
plate product at a commercial level.
While the chickens are busy laying eggs,
lamb is the big protein product at the
RGS Port Curtis Demonstration Farm.
“We have one set of lambs a year.
They are feedlot assisted and are
grass and grain fed. The kids manage
that process through the husbandry
activities,” Mr Manser said.
The lambs are sent to Monto Meats, a
registered abattoir, before being returned
as packaged meat which is sold back
to the customer, often the School.
“We try to diversify, though, so
we have exposure to a variety of
customers,” Mr Manser said.
Students often ‘value-add’
to farm fresh fruit.
“We make a lot of lime-based cakes
and produce. We sell raw product and
sorbet, jams and marmalades. The
majority are made by the students as
part of their Home Economics studies.
Some are also made by RGS staff.
RGS myster y ingredient boxes,
introduced this year, are also providing
popular with young cooks.
“ We get protein, herbs, fats and
carbohydrates within the box and
the students try to develop a meal
based on what they learned in the
previous semester,” Mr Manser said.
Agriculture and Home Economics
now sit under the design and
technology syllabus. This also
applies in the Primary School.
“It’s only when students reach high
school, home economics, catering and
those subject areas split from food and
fibre production,’’ Mr Manser said.
“ That’s when we move more away from
food and food and fibre awareness to the
management and scientific approach
to agricultural production systems.
“ We’re trying to use ever y resource
we can through Primary to raise
awareness of food production among
young people. W hen they go into
Secondary, the curriculum evolves
from traditional agriculture science
to a technology based subject.
“In some Tasmanian schools,
students are fully responsible for the
agriculture production system – in
terms of marketing, animal production
and cost benefit analysis. It is a
business trying to make a profit.
“ We’re starting to apply
that to our model, too.”
Overall, Agriculture is being more
closely associated with STEAM
educat ion (Science, Technology,
Engineering, Arts and Mathematics),
as components such as sustainability,
agribusiness and farming technology
are more deeply explored by students.
Technology element s of the
Agriculture syllabus, a trans- disciplinary
subject, became active last year in
the Queensland Curriculum.
“It’s important to demonstrate new and
proven methods. For example, in terms
of beef cattle, we are introducing the
students to new technology, such as cr ush
site computing,” explained Mr Manser.
While beef is a major industry
in Central Queensland, and the
School recognises it’s contribution
to the economy, the RGS agriculture
programme is also helping students
learn from other agriculture sectors.
“Essentially we’re showing girls and
boys that Ag is a ver y big, diverse, rapidly
changing sector that w ill provide
a huge variety of opportunities to
them. This way, they see Agriculture,
then, as not putting all of their eggs
into one basket, so to speak.”
Home grow n pride
The RGS Port Curtis Demonstration Farm is more than just an outdoor classroom.
It is a living laboratory and active business simulator that is presenting Agriculture,
and all of its sub-fields, to students of every age, writes Rachael McDonald.
Fresh RGS RG1 branded eggs are one
example of how seriously students take
their Agrictultre education at RGS.
Agriculture is being more closely
associated with STEAM education
(Science, Technology, Engineering,
Arts and Mathematics),
as components such as
sustainability, agribusiness and
farming technology are more
deeply explored by students.
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