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Amanda Gardner: A Farm of Her Own

From early morning classes to late nights in the barn, teacher Amanda Gardner has dedicated her life to the agricultural community

The brisk morning sky stretches across the farm as she juggles buckets of feed in each hand. One scoop to each pig, and her day of devotion has begin.Through teaching new generations to raising her own piglets, she has spent every day since she was a child contributing to growing the minds of agriculture. Teacher Amanda Gardner balances her time well and efficiently grows the local FFA with her pride in farming and producing. After a long day of teaching animal science here at PRHS she goes home to a farm of her own. Here she raises her own pigs at Gardner Family Farms.

Gardner has used her life time experience with agriculture as a way to reconnect with students and teach them in new ways. Gardner has provided the FFA with rich material and advanced curriculum.

It makes me really proud to see my students succeed in college and in the workforce after my class. Some of them are still contacting me for advice on their students and animal projects. I still feel like I’ve been influential to them

Amanda Gardner

Gardner describes her teaching style as hands-on and personally paced. She acknowledged the different paces students take to reach succsess and gives extra time for those who need more help. Gardner teaching ethics are inspired from her high school AG teacher, Mr.Clement, who she later had the privilege of teaching with for multiple years before his retirment.

Time management is a big obstacle for a woman with so many tasks. With limited hours in the day Gardner says she must priortise feeding and maintaining the pigs, preparing lessons for animal science, and staying on top of after school activities related to FFA. But on top of all these projects raising hogs have always been the center of passion.

“I think I not only loved it from the beginning but I maintained the interest and love and passion for raising pigs,” Gardner said.

Gardner teaching her animal science class

Her personal journey in Agriculture started when raising a pig each year through Paso Robles FFA and 4-H. From here, Gardner was able to invest in selling pigs, allowing her to sell over 100 a year on average. After noticing her interests, Gardner’s family began putting their family pigs in her name to start her official business between the ages 10 and 11. This led to what is now known as Gardner Family Farms.

Young Gardner preparing her replacment heifer for fair

Gardner’s pig farm is 50 acres and usually holds around 40 pigs at once. Their farm is made up of mostly crossbreds and a selection of purebreds. This hard work put towards raising pigs has also helped her teach many lessons in the classroom. One of Gardners favorite lessons is in the suturing unit. Suturing is the proccess of stitching, Gardners experience with caring animals back to health has prepared her to teach students to work with different instruments and tools.

Personal experiences with time management, equipment such as tractors, farrowing crates and air conditioning systems provide a helpful hand-in her swine production and creating knowledgeable lessons to tackle in the classroom. Having a farm of her own has brought new opportunities for teaching material.

“I have filmed myself in my farrowing barns with the pigs and around our barns and facilities and then used those videos in the classroom,” Gardner said. “I incorporated a lot of what I do at home and brought it into the classroom.”

“I definitely think her pig farm is a big help towards our FFA chapter,” animal sceince student and sophomore Alexis Hickey said. “It shows that she has first hand experience and that she takes pride in what she does.”

“I am passionate about animal science and teaching it. I know there are a lot of kids who enjoy my class and gravitate towards me and my class,” Gardner said. “I think our department is very diverse, and I appreciate that. I love being a part of a department with so many pathways and avenues for students to gravitate towards based on their interests and what they want to do someday.”

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About the Contributor
Cassidy Heer, InDepth Co-Director

Cassidy Heer is a junior at PRHS. This is her second year in crimson and she is currently the In-Depth Co-Director. Heer is excited for another year of Crimson and hopes to continue her interest in writing and possibly pursue it as a career after graduation. In school, Heer plays tennis and is apart of the Beach Clean-Up Club. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.

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