September 2018 Newsletter

Join us! MSGN Annual Meeting
Success Indeed! - Tour recap

School Garden of the Month:
 ** Durham School **

Grow Gratitude
Meet the MSGN Board

September Garden Tips


2018 Annual Meeting
Join us at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens!
Friday, October 26th 3-7pm


We're thrilled to invite you to this year's Annual Meeting. MSGN is in the 10th consecutive year of connecting and serving school gardens in the state, and we're celebrating in style. Our friends at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are hosting our event in their brand new education center. Space will be limited, please RSVP by Oct 20th.


Here's a peek at the general agenda:
  • 3pm - 5pm: Tour the gardens at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens!
  • 5pm - 6pm: Keynote, business meeting and updates from MSGN
  • 6pm - 7pm: Potluck Dinner - bringing a dish to share is optional, please come and enjoy some seasonal soups!

Mark your calendar now--
RSVP today!




Ahhh the sweet smell of SUCCESS!

A fun and inspiring weekend was experienced by all who embarked on our premier Summer Success Garden Tour - an event that revealed the recipes for success among a variety of educational gardens in Southern Maine.  Setting off via tour bus from the farmhouse at Wolfe's Neck, our first stop was Durham Community School to visit their courtyard garden supported by JMG and orchard planted by ReTreeUS. Their success story can be read in more detail below in our "School Garden of the Month" feature article. Next we headed to Pineland Farms to tour 3 gardens all beautifully maintained for different purposes and available for school groups as a field trip opportunity. Before enjoying lunch there at the Market Place, we were allowed 5 fast minutes to glean veggies from their educational garden. OH MY!!! Watching garden educators gather up fresh vegetables was like the garden edition of the famous game show "Supermarket Sweep"... except the produce was top notch and everyone was a winner ;)
We then set our sights on Manchester School in Windham, where the flower gardens greeted us along with the lovely little garden of raised beds and a greenhouse well loved by the students and staff.  We were encouraged to explore the garden with an engaging observation activity and talked about how to engage students in plant health challenges. Even the compost bin had us smiling with its bouquet of volunteer morning glories.
Then it was off to Saccarappa School in Westbrook, where we were greeted by students and garden gifts including marigold seeds from their startup seed company. They shared stories of their work; both successes and challenges and enlightened us about their resourceful and creative connections within the community . The pride in this garden could be seen and felt.

"I love the garden so much because it is where a lot of memories are made." declared a 4th grade Saccarappa student.

Our last garden on day one was East End School in Portland, a purposeful plot adjacent to their large community garden with a priceless view! Overlooking the city and the bay and hearing the collaborative community efforts from organizations like Cultivating Community and FoodCorps that come together to grow this school garden and its students was a picture perfect way to end our first day!
We returned to the Farmhouse to cook a local dinner sourced from Wolfe's Neck Farm then gathered in the yurt to enjoy the beef and lamb meatballs with spaghetti, herb breaded eggplant and garlic bread with fresh salad and a delicious strawberry rhubarb pie. Yum!
Day 2 started with an equally delightful breakfast of kale scrambled eggs, roasted blue potato home fries and granola -just what we need for the final day of our tour. A wagon ride through Wolfe's Neck Farm and Center for Agriculture and the Environment led us to explore the educational garden and orchard as well as the production garden and greenhouse - very impressive!
Last stop was LOCAL garden in Bath, a community garden organized by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust that provides a resource for surrounding schools and community groups to experience the garden. It boasted a variety of vegetables and flowers that welcomed the bees and the community to grow and learn together.
The premier Summer Success Garden Tour was indeed a huge SUCCESS! The sites promoted an ideal variety of educational opportunities to inspire all grades of students and levels of gardening. We know participants left motivated to take back new ideas and resources for their gardens, or to initiate new gardens or field trips within their schools.    
Thank you to our garden hosts and everyone who participated, we look forward to your feedback on how to improve for years to come. A shout out to our sponsors for the support in making this event a huge success!


Visit our Facebook Page to view pictures from this event.

School Garden of the Month -
Durham Community School

Durham, Maine

The first stop of our recent Summer Success Garden Tour with an inspiring variety of vegetables fruit trees and community support. We proudly present Durham Community School! 

Our own MSGN board member and Program Director at ReTreeUS, Richard Hodges, is a frequent visitor to Durham Community School. He checks in to be sure their large orchard is thriving and fruitful - that it was along with the rest of the large garden space! Here's what he had to say about DCS.

"I had the pleasure of visiting the Durham Community School (DCS) two times recently, once for a site visit for this newsletter and again for the Summer Success Garden Tour. DCS is a great example of a successful garden program.Julie Walters, a Jobs for Maine Graduates teacher does a great job with the garden and uses the support of the Master Gardener Volunteer program. These supporting programs help students gain learning opportunities growing productive gardens that create produce for the local food pantry. ReTreeUS, the program I manage, is also working with the school to grow an orchard of 18 apple and peach trees. All in all, this garden utilizes the community well to get students involved in the garden. Check out the picture of Julie tending to the potatoes with Master Gardener, Jeff Newell and volunteer Jean Walters, and the pictures of the orchard and the Summer Success Garden Tour.Thanks for the good times in the garden DCS!"

Thank you to Johnny's Selected Seeds for their continued support for our School Garden of the Month locations!
Please email us and let us know if you would like to be one of our School Gardens of the Month for 2019.

Pleased to Meet You!

Ever wondered who is behind the scenes of the Maine School Garden Network?
2018 is the year to meet the group of volunteers and staff who make it all happen! Each month we will introduce you to someone new.


 Kelsey Fortin, MSGN Board Member

Kelsey is the program assistant for Maine Agriculture in the Classroom. Her work is focused on providing resources to schools and educators on how they can incorporate more agriculture into their curriculum. She has a degree in Community Health from the University of Maine at Farmington. Previously she worked at two different healthy community coalitions around the state and comes to the Maine School Garden Network with a public health lens. Kelsey is passionate about educating students and the community on where their food comes from and increasing the knowledge and awareness around the importance of locally sourced foods and good nutrition. We think she's pretty awesome!
To learn more about programs and resources available through Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, visit their website.  


We look forward to introducing you to a new MSGN board member each month here in the newsletter and hope to shake hands at future events and workshops!

If you are interested in becoming a board member or discovering volunteer opportunities with MSGN please send us an email.

Grow Gratitude at Your School or Event!
Host our Gratitude Tree mural and gather up leaves of kindness from students, staff and community. Fill the tree with colorful leaves that display all the reasons to be grateful for your garden, school and community. A colorful burst of positivity from MSGN to you! 
Email us today.

September Garden Ideas:

*Take your new class on a tour of the gardens
     Do a garden scavenger hunt
     Pick zucchini and make zucchini bread or muffins
     Do a garden orienting activity
*Continue harvesting veggies, weighing them and offering them to your school‘s food service.
Continue with plant care as needed.
*Start a school cooking club after school and use school produce when possible.
*Finalize plans for School Garden Open House Day
*Have a potluck or food related celebration for teachers, staff, kids, parents and other volunteers who helped sustain the gardens all summer or find another way to thank all those involved.
* Work with your technology gurus or your own expertise to use technology to publicize, promote and connect your garden projects with your school and greater community.
     Post garden pictures and text on your garden website, school, Food Service or district website(s).

* Create a garden committee for the year and hold regular meetings to set goals, plan activities, etc.
* Prepare the soil for bulbs including garlic

* Enjoy local Apple Orchards and visit MAITC for curriculum resources


 Check out our MONTHLY SCHOOL GARDEN CHECKLIST to learn more about what this month looks like in the garden! For more information, try out these awesome resources: MOFGA's Planting Calendar, Fedco's Veggie Chart, and Johnny's Planting Calculator and Succession Planting Template.
Make way for SeedMoney!

Get ready to start thinking about your campaign this year! Novemeber is right around the corner and it's not too early to start thinking about how you can make the most of your crowd funding opportunity offered by this local non-profit. SeedMoney has inspired projects that build food security and garden education all over the world. Let's build opportunity in Maine school gardens with the help of SeedMoney! Take advantage of matching grants, incentives and garden planning tools. Applications are Due November 12th. More details here. 


September 27th: Conservation Fair at Union Fairgrounds
October 26: MSGN Annual Meeting at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - RSVP!!!
Spring 2019: Maine School Garden Day - stay tuned!
View MOFGA's events calendar here.


The Flannel Shirt Fund – June 1, October 1, February 1 ($400 to $1200)
RetreeUS – orchards for schools, ongoing
New England Grassroots Environment Fund –Seed grants ($250-$1000): ongoing
SeedMoney - Applications due Nov 12th

Seattle Seed Company Organic Seed Fundraiser

Digital Wish Grants – 15th of every month, submit a lesson plan to win
Fruit Tree 101 – orchards for schools, ongoing
Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools – get a salad bar for your school, ongoing
Whole Kids Foundation Grants - School Garden grant, Extended Learning grant, Honey Bee grants and more!

For more grant opportunities, visit

A HUGE thank you to our SPONSORS!

Copyright © 2018 MSGN, All rights reserved.

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28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333

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