June 2017 Newsletter


NEW! Garden Health Engagement Program
Exciting Job Opportunity at RSU 3 
Learn more about School Garden Grown
Meet School Garden of the Month:
 ** Ellsworth Elementary Middle School **
June garden tips & summer planning
Exciting events & opportunites
MSGN is kicking off
The Garden Health Engagement Project

WANTED: School garden programs interested in techniques to engage students in plant health challenges and solutions. MSGN wants to help you explore your garden using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and to teach students at all grade levels about "good bugs" in the garden.
This project aims at:
1) Encouraging appreciation for food and techniques for keeping plants healthy
2) Exploring new perspective in the garden and inspire "real world" thinking
3) Empowering students and teachers to approach plant health challenges
4) Inspiring opportunities to prevent stagnation in the winter
IPM fits ALL gardens, let MSGN show you how!
More info here.
Job Opportunity!
 We are excited to spread the word about this incredibly exciting new position at Walker School in Liberty! 
RSU 3 is "graduating" from FoodCorps and they have worked very hard with their school board, administration and community to put in place a full time salaried teaching position which is now LIVE! 
MSGN is excited to see this movement grow and for schools to support a commitment to leadership in their gardens. Would you or someone you know like to join the team at Walker School?

 Learn more here, and spread the word!

School Garden Grown

MSGN invites you to promote your school garden and "show off" your School Garden Grown! We know how hard you work and we want to see the fruits (and veggies) of your labor. The program will be offered at Common Ground Fair and many of the other Agricultural Fairs throughout Maine. We are working to create exhibit opportunities (including prize money to support your school garden program) and to promote educational gardens throughout Maine.

Want to "show off"? Here's how:

1) Let us know - Sign up here to receive more info 
2) Start planning - What fruits or veggies would you like to enter? Now is the time to sow the seeds for success!
3) Stay tuned - More information about participating fairs to come!  

Got questions? Email us at anytime!

Don't miss these upcoming events!

Nature Based Education Summer Institute
A great professional development opportunity to learn about the benefits of nature based education and how to incorporate the principles into your own classroom! Build 2×2 mini-gardens with our own Kevin Duplissie, and learn what is needed in the soil for your seeds to grow, for drainage and watering and actually plant seeds that will grow this summer in your classroom or home. June 23rd & 24th at University of Maine at Farmington. Learn more and register here.

Northeast Farm to School Institute
The Northeast Farm to School Institute is a unique year-long professional learning opportunity for twelve school teams from New England and New York. Our year-long Institute kicks off with a Summer Retreat held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT from June 27-29, 2017. Learn more here. 
Contact Renee Page from Maine Farm to School if you have any questions.

Food Waste Reduction & Recovery Workshop at the Muskie School
In K-12 schools, leftover food can be recovered by setting up a Share Table and collecting for composting. For institutions and restaurants, cutting down on food waste helps to reduce their costs and is one of the practices that contributes to a sustainable brand. This workshop will look at how Maine schools, institutions and restaurants can set up and operate data driven food waste reduction and recovery programs and achieve economic and environmental benefits by keeping leftover food out of the dumpster. It will examine the links between food waste and gleaning networks, and food recovery and food insecurity, as well as the donation of leftover food. Guest speakers from schools, municipalities, businesses and the hospitality industry will share their perspective and practices. Earn CEUs at this workshop held on June 29th 9am - 3:30pm. More information here.

2017 MAITC Summer Teachers Institute
The 2017 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Teachers Institute will be held at The University Maine, Farmington with 36 contact hours or 3.6 CEU's available for recertification. July 31st - Aug 4th, the week will start with curriculum sessions at the College focused on STEM, Nutrition and higher level thinking for students in regard to agriculture. The week-long workshop will include lessons, online resources and grant opportunities and a trip to Boothby's Orchard and Farm Winery. All participants will leave with armloads of materials and megabytes of technology integrating agriculture into your classes from Pre K – 12th grade. Get more details and register here.

School Garden of the Month -
Ellsworth Elementary Middle School

At the Ellsworth Elementary Middle School, we are very excited about our “growing” outdoor curriculum.  Our vision is to create easily accessible outdoor spaces for students, staff and community members to engage together, in an active role, to establish, maintain and promote an appreciation for the natural environment.  Our mission is to provide all students with opportunities to integrate learning into the outdoor classroom.

One special space is our vegetable garden.  Students in all grades from k-8 are given opportunities to plant, care for, and harvest crops.  For example, kindergarteners plant potatoes in the spring.  As first graders, they will help harvest them for use in the cafeteria.  First graders plant pumpkins and then the seeds are harvested in the fall, and so forth.  Teachers tie these activities to science lessons on plant needs and life cycles.  This year, our fifth graders not only learned about vermiculture, but also maintained a worm bin that provides castings that can be used to enhance our soil.  We experimented with the castings by planting basil with and without casting, and then placing the seedlings under grow lights. Our study strongly indicated that the castings really help!  The basil plants were then sold to community members.
            Our last big event for this school year will be sponsoring a community potluck with garden tours, crafts, seed planting and more.  We are proud of our program and this event provides a means for everyone associated with EEMS to enjoy the fruits of our labors!  Happy gardening! – MM Billings, Garden Coach

EEMS is home to 800 students who each have the opportunity to experience the garden that literally grows around their school. It begins with a welcoming plot of tulips, each one planted by a student, and continues with tremendous help from the community in the form of planted orchards, and memorial trees and garden plots all over campus. The Community Garden Club of volunteers meet monthly and embrace the garden space and contribute to its year round maintenance and growth. Thanks to community support, the vegetable garden has added a deer fence, composting bins and even a garden shed made by a local scout group. The garden is fully supported by principal, James Newett, an advocate for a full time School Garden Coach position. Mary-Michael Billings a teacher at the school is currently taking the lead with support from Anna Pezzulla who will be graduating from Food Corps. EEMS is one of our new School Garden Coach Pilots and we are thankful that they wish to share their experiences in support of our mission to grow the Garden Coach movement throughout Maine.

June Garden Tips:


Transplant tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, Brussels sprouts.

Direct seed beans, carrots.

Transplant or direct seed cukes, squash, melons and pumpkins.

Plant annual herbs and flowers.

Check your planting schedule for succession plantings.

Harvest hardneck garlic scapes to promote bulb growth. Make garlic scape pesto!

Planning summer care of school gardens now will save you effort over the summer. Enlist staff members, students, families, community members, and local businesses.

  • Make a schedule or monthly calendar indicating who is responsible for caring for the garden each week. Provide contact information for each person. Distribute to volunteers.
  • Host a training meeting so volunteers know your expectations, how to care for the garden, where supplies and tools are located, how to access water, and what to do with harvested produce.
  • Keep a garden journal in a visible place to volunteers can leave notes about tasks accomplished, concerns, food harvested, etc.
  • Post a clearly labelled garden map in a garden shed or hoophouse.
  • Consider tackling summer projects with the help of volunteers such as building a compost system, a new raised bed, installing fencing.
  • Plan a potluck celebration at the end of summer for all who volunteered.


 Check out our SCHOOL GARDEN CALENDAR 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.

Commemorate your school year by planting a tree!
ReTreeUS is dedicated to promoting an environmentally sustainable, socially just food system through education, practical resources and mentorship.  We plant orchards in schools and provide educational programs that empower people to be healthy environmental stewards.
Visit them for more information here.
Planning a Summer Vacation?

Why not check out some amazing gardens along your travels? 

Our very own Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens made the cut in this line up of Stunning Botanical Gardens written by a fan of our website. Get inspired by these beautiful gardens! 

Learn more here.

Tick Talk

Be safe in the garden this summer while tick pressure is high. With all the talk about ticks this year we encourage you to use the Maine Center for Disease Control as a resource for information on the pest, diseases they spread and how to protect yourself. 

Get the facts here.



Do you have a new project you'd like to promote in your school garden? Are there things you'd like for us to share with you? Let us know!


June 23 - 24: Nature Based Education Summer Institute (Farmington)

June 27 - 29: Northeast Farm to School Institute (Shelburne, VT)

July 31 - August 4: Summer Teacher's Institute (Farmington)


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, “Grow” Grants ($1000-$3000): September 15

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 © 2017 Maine School Garden Network, All rights reserved.

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