A local high school student has gained national recognition through a small business she runs.
Wapakoneta High School senior Mallory McDevitt received top honors as she earned national recognition during the National FFA Convention, which was held in Indianapolis in October.
The 18-year-old, who owns and operates her own organic produce business, farms a one-acre plot of land at her parent’s residence and has a clientele of approximately 30 people when she sells her fresh produce to each week.
The FFA vice president earned first place in at the Ohio State Convention in the vegetable production category of the proficiency award competitions — this qualified her for the national competition.
Then she became one of the top four national finalists in vegetable production and then named the National FFA Proficiency Award winner in vegetable production, during the 84th National FFA Convention in October. This all came after additional interviews and judging after the state level.
“It feels pretty good,” McDevitt said, of the achievement, “I won state, and became one of the top four finalists at nationals and won.”
Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excelled as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers while they gained hands-on career experience.
Prior to receiving this award, McDevitt has been an Earth Team Volunteer since the age of 14.
This summer, McDevitt collected canned food and also donated produce from her farm, through the Feds Feed Families Food Drive.
McDevitt not only participated in this food drive, but also spearheaded this program for the Wapakoneta field office.
The goal of the drive was to raise 1,000 pounds of food, which was then donated to Mercy Unlimited.
During this food drive, McDevitt made a challenge to herself to make a pound-for-pound produce donation equal to the total of canned foods and non-perishable items that were donated to the field office.
“It became a personal challenge, not only does the office have a 1,000-pound goal, but I have a personal goal to provide more pounds of fresh produce than the office total.”
McDevitt met her goal, and was able to donate almost 1,000 pounds of her produce from her garden to the local food pantry, Mercy Unlimited, this summer.
The food pantry manager at Mercy Unlimited is appreciative of McDevitt’s efforts.
“It’s a really good thing that she has done,” Mercy Unlimited Food Pantry Manager Glenna Bair said. “It gave us a lot more produce to give out. It has had a positive effect on everyone.”
“She’s a great kid for doing this,” Bair said. “All of her hard work and effort brought forth a lot of good produce for us.”
For McDevitt helping meant more than growing crops.
“Everyone talks about getting involved, and this is one way I could get involved,” McDevitt said, “because I had all the resources to do it.
“Mercy Unlimited gets excited when I pull in and unload,” McDevitt said. “They appreciate what I’m doing, especially the fresh produce, and I get a good feeling about what I’m doing.”