BROOKSVILLE — It’s official. Pine Grove Elementary School is a school — and a farm. The school has a lot of gardens, and it can legally sell its produce to the school cafeteria and to the public.
“We are now a bona fide U-pick farm for the state of Florida. We are, I believe, the very first elementary school in the nation to be certified as a farm,” said Pine Grove science research teacher Doug Poteet, who also owns PAR 5 Farms Inc., a nonprofit farm, with Dwayne Ross, a volunteer and parent of a former Pine Grove student.
The two have helped the school build a food-producing farm, a butterfly attraction, a vineyard and a home for animals.
“Mr. Poteet and Mr. Ross got very industrious,” principal Earl Deen said. “And now we have roosters.”
Deen addressed School Board members and guests at the U-pick garden dedication, just before winter break. Visitors left with bags of lush, fresh bunches of various kinds of lettuce.