Bradford: An Educational Showcase


Each year numerous schools, organizations and community members come to Bradford to learn about agriculture and science and have fun doing so. Bradford Research Center shows children and others where their food comes from, and so much more.

Partners in Education

ed_showcase_5Bradford is proud to be a Partner in Education with Columbia’s Blue Ridge Elementary School. Since 2005, Bradford has hosted nearly 480 students each year as an incentive trip in the fall and a fishing trip in the spring. In some years, the students plant a row for the hungry. In 2011, for example, more than 400 lbs. of tomatoes were picked and delivered to the local Food Bank from this planting.

Students learn about agriculture and how it affects their everyday lives, and have a chance to venture into the corn maze. If they are good they get to pick a pumpkin to take home (they always are good!). Keep up with our many educational events via our Facebook page.

Undergraduate Education

Each year undergraduate student classes in botany, forages, agricultural systems management, journalism and other disciplines use the resources at Bradford for either a guided tour or as an outdoor laboratory to learn about genetics, physiology, planting, harvesting, biotechnology and the food supply, and more. These outside-the-classroom activities give students realistic experiences in agriculture and the sciences.

Educational Plantings

  • Corn Maze: Have you ever wondered what goes into making a corn maze? When to plant the corn? Is there anything special about the corn? Every year since 2003, Bradford has constructed its very own corn maze for the education and use of students and nonprofit groups by using Global Positioning (GPS) to record the coordinates of each corner.
  • Gene Zoo: Bill Wiebold, Ph.D., and students plant and manage the Gene Zoo at Bradford. The Gene Zoo shows the ancestors of corn and soybeans as well as different maturities and single gene mutations.
  • Biofuel Garden: The biofuel garden is divided into rows of crops grown to produce ethanol from stored seed sugars (corn, grain sorghum), stalk (sugar cane, sweet sorghum), or cellulostic (switchgrass and Miscanthus). Also, biodiesel can be produced from high oil content crops such as soybean, sunflower, canola and peanut.

Passive Solar Greenhouses

Aren’t all greenhouse’s solar? Yes, but a Passive Solar Greenhouse does not use an artificial heat source such as propane but rather utilizes the sun to heat water, concrete, or some other heat holding material.