Slow but steady wins the race
By: Carl C. Stafford
Senior Extension Agent
Slow but steady wins the race according to Aesop’s fable, a story about the tortoise and the hare. One would assume the fast hare could easily cross the finish line first, but there is more. Many interpretations surround this fable and here we can agree that slow and steady leads to progress.
This is the rate progress is made at the Carver School on route 15 here in Culpeper, slowly unfolding after a kick-start. This stimulus came from a feasibility study funded in early 2015 by the Building Collaborative Communities grant by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. See the article published in several papers at the link provided:
http://www.dailyprogress.com/madisonnews/news/rrrc-receives-bcbg-grant-for-agricultural-asset-study/article_ab9c5106-acb4-11e4-a7fd-d71806b24c49.html or search for key words on the topic.
Once the good bones of the 1948 structure were confirmed in the study (http://gwcarc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/20160128-CPAI.pdf), interest in and support for regionally beneficial uses increased. Not only were the original agriculture research and education center plans supported (http://gwcarc.org/) but also validation was found for the planned vocational education uses important to Culpeper and surrounding counties.
To date there is much progress to report. From route 15, visible changes show with window replacement ongoing with new, energy efficient glass to occupy the old spaces while maintaining the original appearance. Inside, thousands of square feet are undergoing rehabilitation. Lead and asbestos removed, floor and ceiling improvements and utility upgrades to spaces on each side of the entry foyer. Plan to visit the school during the October 7 & 8 Farm tour https://www.facebook.com/culpeperfarmtour and see these and other changes for yourself.
The GW Carver Regional High School alumni have plans for a museum; see their website https://www.gwcrhsaa.org/ to find out more about their work. In the other spaces undergoing renovation will be offices for those whose programs are coming online. These include a commercial kitchen headed up by the GW Carver Food Enterprise Center found at https://www.facebook.com/GWCFEC/ . In vocational training, New Pathways progress is described at the link provided to an article describing their work
http://www.starexponent.com/news/culpeper-machinist-school-attracting-global-attention/article_181bf62f-fb0e-553d-8363-fb9cbd96519e.html . Learning by doing for young adults who can use their machinist training as a springboard to a meaningful career.
The Rappahannock River Master Gardeners have been busy at Carver since spring. See their link https://www.facebook.com/rapidanrivermastergardener/?rc=p for details on their demonstration garden, a teaching lab in keeping with the educational mission planned by the GWCARC. To conclude, the Beginning Farmer program is geared towards giving new farmers opportunities to learn and practice before going it alone. Find more on this program at our website http://gwcarc.org/news-announcements/page/2/.