The Willoughby Nursery

The Willoughby Nursery Visit

On June 29th, I had the pleasure of visiting the Willoughby Nursery and Farm. This was a unique visit. All of the farms up until this point dealt primarily with products that were intended for consumption. We had visited farms raising cattle, chickens and growing all different types of crops. This particular market was primarily beautification. Vaughn and his family grow many different types of plants, flows and shrubbery the the nursery. Vaughn markets an assortment of brands as well as types of plants. I was amazed at the large selection of plants that his customers had to choose from. Vaughn showed me how plants are first put into small pots and then replanted as they grow. We then travelled to the the greenhouses. The Willoughby Nursery is equipped with thermostats and temperature control features in each greenhouse. If the temperature rises or falls past a certain degree, the equipment responses by automatically opening and closing windows, sprinkler systems and fanning systems. Vaughn and his family have worked hard throughout many years to produce the quality lawn beautification needs that many landscaping, small businesses or single family homes have. This visit highlighted the importance yet again of supporting small businesses in our community. The plants and flowers I saw growing on this property were far beyond in terms of quality in comparison to many of the same growing and being sold by larger companies. There were many examples of skills on this nursery that young students could be used. Making processes like watering, planting and growth monitoring easier and more efficient are opportunities that students and those in the younger generations could definitely take advantage at the Willoughby Nursery.

ACC Horticulture and Technology Department

Alamance Community College Horticulture Visit

On July 3rd, we visited ACC’s Horticulture department. Dr. Elizabeth Riley has been the head of the Horticulture and an instructor for the past year. ACC has a vast assortment of projects available to students who are interested in pursuing careers in agriculture. We have the opportunity to tour the greenhouses and landscape developments. The students who are in the horticulture program are emerged in a rigorous series of courses that not only allow then to learn more about plants but also allows them to design, develop and modify equipment that can enhance the care taking process and improve overall effectiveness. Dr. Elizabeth Riley is eager to increase the awareness, interest and enrollment of students in the Horticulture program. Partnering with local high schools and organizations to drive representation and interest in career areas of horticulture are two promising areas of interest that may deliver on those present needs. We toured different types of green houses storing various types of plant life. There we talked about the different types of work and developments going on in the greenhouse. We saw one green house where tomato plant were being grown without soil. The NFT System was also being used to grow spices and other plants. This program has made great strides in a short period of time to create a resource for students who have an interest in the field. The amount of time and care invested in the horticulture program at ACC was evident. The staff working to preserve and improve the program are knowledgeable in many areas but seek to learn more about the ever changing interests of our youth. The students in this program are constantly challenged to design and develop new ways to improve upon the current ag equipment and techniques. The tour of the ACC Horticulture and Technology department truly made me even more proud to be an ACC alumna.