VCE Agricultural and Horticultural (AgHort) students have been flourishing with a recent project – creating and building a small AgHort business.
Sarah Dennis, who teaches the subject, said she has been impressed with the broad range of businesses students have developed, ranging from growing microgreens through to rearing livestock.
Spencer, who has built a successful microgreens business, said the project has been a valuable learning experience.
‘I’ve enjoyed learning about the different growing rates and trying to coordinate the schedule to produce a consistent harvest,’ enthused the student.
They also said that another learning opportunity appeared when a chef who used their microgreens at a cafe left the business.
‘The new chef wanted different products, so I had to respond to my market and make changes. There were a couple of weeks where I thought it wouldn’t work out, but it has,’ explained Spencer.
Fellow student Lainey, who grows ranunculus flowers for wholesale markets and the public, agrees that she has learnt important lessons from running a small business.
‘Weather events have posed the greatest challenges in my business. Negative temperatures threatened frost on my plants. I had to take measures, such as applying frost covers over my plants, to prevent damage,’ she said.
Both Spencer and Lainey agree that it has been incredibly satisfying seeing their businesses grow and thrive.
‘Although it has been hard work, every small achievement – even the little plants growing a couple of centimetres – is exciting,’ said Lainey.
Spencer, who lives in Melbourne, said that AgHort was a “random subject pick” but it has been very rewarding.
‘Like a lot of people who live in the city, I never really thought about where and how our food is grown, and the challenges growers face. It has opened my eyes to the complexity and importance of this sector. It sustains the lifestyle we are all accustomed to,’ they said.
Student Sophie pointed out that the knowledge she has gained is applicable to the real-world.
‘The information is both valuable and diverse…and can be used in an industry with a huge variety of career opportunities,’ she said.
AgHort is one of almost 100 VCE subjects offered by VSV. This is the largest number of VCE subjects offered by any school in the state.