August Newsletter
Three-Question Survey
Racial Justice & School Gardens Resources
Save the Date! MSGN Annual Meeting 10/8
Returning to Classroom Instruction
Stay Engaged: Featured Connections
Summer Harvest of the Month
September Gardening Tips
Three-Question Survey
This fall we'll be hosting THREE virtual events. In addition to our Annual Meeting on October 8 (with CEUs available!) we'll also host two one-hour gatherings. 

Please take a brief moment to provide your input to help us design helpful and engaging experiences for school garden leaders in Maine. Thank you!
Take the Survey
Racial Justice & School Gardens Resources

In advancing MSGN’s mission to promote and support educational gardens for youth, it’s imperative we provide resources that assist garden educators in creating and fostering inclusive spaces where all students feel welcome and engaged. Here are a few resources and upcoming events: 
  • State's Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations issued a letter to Governor Mills 6/18, available here
  • Resources for Advancing Racial Equity and Addressing Racism in Farm to School from Maine Farm to School Network here
  • Resources from Maine Farmland Trust here
  • National Ag in the Classroom has created a Diversity in Children’s Ag Literacy Book Lists - Matrix Link - PDF
  • Connecticut State Dept of Ed's material compilation called Moving Forward Together (written, online discussions, webinar) here
  • Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture's Talking About Race resources - videos, activities, scholarly texts, and other resources (including a page dedicated to educators)  here
  • A Reading List for Learning About Anti-Black Racism and Food from epicurious here
  • Civil Eats Op-ed: How Urban Agriculture Can Fight Racism in the Food System here
  • What Can White People Do? free resource from NetworkWeaver here
  • Dismantling Racism and White Supremacy Culture free resource package from NetworkWeaver here
  • What Does Being an Ally Look Like? Companies Offer Training in Support of Black Colleagues Article from the Wall Street Journal Article 7/12/2020 here
  • Maine Resilience Building Network is hosting an Equity Workshop Series with upcoming events 9/21, 9/24, 9/29 - more info here
  • Cooperative Land Tenure with Leah Penniman 8/31. Registration opens 8/20 here
  • Black Farming: Beyond "40 Acres and a Mule" conference 9/11-9/12 here

For more racial justice resources, please see those highlighted in our June + July Newsletters.
Save the Date!
MSGN Annual Meeting 10/8

Join MSGN for a virtual tour of Thomas Grammar School's Common Ground Garden, led by 2020 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award recipient Lynne Snow. We'll also be joined by Richard Hodges from ReTreeUS, expanding on some of the great resources you can find on their website.

If you're interested in joining us for this virtual event,
registration will open September 1
Returning to Classroom Instruction

We know districts have been working so diligently on mapping out what fall will look like and teachers have been adapting to instruct children in a number of different ways. Here's some information we thought might be helpful for our network of educators and school garden leaders:

Resources for Virtual Learning
  • Agriculture in the Classroom's Virtual Options for Teachers, Other Educators here 
  • NetRef's Playbook - Managing the Virtual Classroom: Tools to help minimize distractions and maximize learning when instruction is remote
  • The Edible Schoolyard hosted Summer Learning at Home, a free program of online training and professional development sessions for the field of edible education. Topics include curriculum design, blended learning, and more. Check out the recordings here.
Resources for Outdoor Learning
  • Our neighbors at NHEE are hosting upcoming virtual events, Take It Outside: Case Studies from NH Teachers 
    • 8/25 - All Subjects & All Seasons - Outdoor Learning in Middle School register here
    • 8/27 - Thinking Outside: How Nature-based Education Can Help Schools Reopen Safely register here
  • Portland Public Schools Outdoor Learning for PPS infographic here
  • Portland Press Herald article from 8/13 about outdoor learning
  • Green Schoolyards America's National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative includes official guidance and policies, outdoor classroom infrastructure, case studies, working groups, and more. 
Helpful garden & outdoor learning tips from
  • Lessons to Grow By - A four-month program of weekly garden-themed lessons and activities for parents teaching at home, or for educators instructing via distance learning. Lessons are aimed at grades 3-5 and are adaptable for older/younger audiences. Launches 8/31
  • How to: Teaching Outside - Strategies for embracing outdoor learning environments for lessons and educational activities 
  • Three pieces of school garden advice from former RSU3 FoodCorps Maine AmeriCorps service member Christine Gall, now the Programming Director at
  • Inside-Outside's website with lots of resources, ranging from remote learning, social justice, webinars, literature, etc. 
  • Natural Start Alliance's website & resources  
  • Learning withOutdoors website learning activities

Other Helpful Info
  • The National Farm to School Network has weekly newsletters that are full of helpful information from covid-19 related resources to funding opportunities. Find the most recent news here and do consider signing up for it to come straight to your inbox. Recent highlights:
    • Cancelled the 10th National Farm to School Conference that had been scheduled for April 2020 and re-scheduled for April 2021.
    • But save the date! Farm to School Movement Meeting Oct 14, 1-3pm featuring Karen Washington and conversations about racial equity and justice in the farm to school movement. 
    • Resource List: 2020 Back to School - Farm to School/ECE and COVID-19 Resources
  • Podcast: Science Rules with Bill Nye the Science Guy

Webinars has TONS of free webinars, many of which offer certificates for attending. They also provide the opportunity to connect with other educators in topic-specific learning communities. Here are some of the titles of recent and upcoming virtual trainings: 
  • Distance/Hybrid/In-Person Learning
    • Developing Strong Readers at Any Distance here
    • Using Text Messaging to Engage Students and Reduce Absenteeism here
    • Back to School 2020: Maximizing District Budgets to Support Student Safety and Distance Learning here
    • Addressing the Remote Needs of Emergent Bilingual Students here
    • Suddenly Online: Anytime, Anywhere Learning here
    • Transitioning from Assigning Work to Effective, Engaging Teaching and Learning here 
    • Recreating the Conditions for Learning This Fall link
    • Teaching Science and STEM in a COVID World Fully and Safely--Whatever the Learning Approach link
    • Using Digital Portfolios to Support the Documentation of Knowledge Within a Model of Anytime, Anywhere Learning link
    • 3 Tips for Teaching Students in a Remote or Hybrid Learning Environment link
    • Ready for Reading--No Matter What Happens Next link
    • Remote Learning for Secondary Math and Science: Strategies for Using What We've Learned link
    • Navigating a Socially Distanced Classroom for Students with Autism here
  • Social & Emotional Learning
    • “Take Heart” With Your Return to Learn: Fostering a Safe and Responsive Learning Environment here
    • Actionable Strategies to Support Students’ Social-Emotional Behavior Skills here 
    • Talking to Elementary and Middle School Students about COVID-19 link
    • Change Lives with Empathy and Resilience in the Classroom: UNBROKEN, A Victory for Hope link
    • How to Use Knowledge of the Brain to Enhance Students' Learning and Behavior link
    • Addressing SEL Through Data-Driven MTSS: Back-to-School Strategies for Supporting the Whole Child link
Here are some online fee-based professional learning opportunities:
  • Elementary Curriculum Outdoors 8/20  here
  • Risk Management in the Outdoors 8/27  here 
  • Virtual Ed Summit: Foundations & Integrations with Google for Education 8/26-8/27 here
  • Nature-Based Teacher Certification from the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools here
Stay Engaged
Featured Connections 

Highlight: Teacher Nominations! Applications are open for MAITC's Teacher of the Year - recognizing an outstanding Maine elementary or secondary school teacher who uses agricultural education materials and/or activities in the classroom to teach core subjects. Applications are due to MAITC by 5pm on 10/1.

  • MAITC grant program deadlines are coming up 8/21
  • Applications are open for the Environmental Changemakers Network Fellowship. Apply by 8/28
  • The School Garden Support Organization Network is hosting upcoming virtual gatherings 8/19, 8/26, 9/2 and beyond. Learn more here
  • Events from MA Farm to School here 
  • Virtual Meetings from Farm-Based Education Network here
  • MSGN Annual Meeting 10/8 (virtual)
  • MAITC Annual Meeting 10/28 Maine State Grange, Augusta
  • Maine Nutrition Council Annual Conference 11/18 Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center, Bar Harbor
  • UMaine Cooperative Extension is still hosting virtual events. See what's coming up here

MOFGA continues to host a wide variety of educational opportunities online  including a children's garden club, gardening Q&As, digital tours, farmer discussions, and more. And the Common Ground Country Fair is going virtual this year! Enter your #SchoolGardenGrown produce in the exhibition hall - here's how

And in case you missed it last month--
  • Funds: SeedMoney is accepting grant applications until November 12. More info here! For assistance on writing grants, start with this: Helpful Tips for Promising Proposals.
    • More funding opportunities here
  • Video Lessons: From FoodCorps, created by FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members across the country.
  • Garden Help: The UMaine Extension Victory Gardens for ME video series features helpful how-to for beginner gardeners--from managing weeds to how to water your plants. Still not getting your questions answered? Reach out to your local Cooperative Extension office for expert advice.

August is Maine Cucumbers!
September is Maine Tomatoes!

NEW Cucumber resources from MAITC here

Local heroes disguised as nutrition directors and cafeteria staff are making sure youth stay fed across Maine. Catch up on all the details and learn how your school can participate by visiting the DOE website.
For even more HOM curriculum resources, Maine Ag in the Classroom has pages on the Teach ME website!


  • Transplant later-season crops such as kale, chard, or spinach. Use Johnny's Selected Seeds fall planting calculator with your frost date to determine how late in the season you can plant. Reach out to your local Cooperative Extension with technical gardening questions you may have. 
  • Celebrate "Back to School Gardens Month" no matter your instructional format. Take students on a [virtual] tour of the garden. Share out details about produce harvested. helped in the garden this spring/summer.
  • "Visit" another school's garden! Portland Public Schools has been doing Virtual Tours of their school gardens!
  • Host a virtual gathering for teachers, staff, families, and volunteers who helped sustain the garden over the past several months. Share appreciations for these folks!
  • Take a virtual field trip to the Common Ground Country Fair and share your #SchoolGardenGrown produce photos with MSGN!
  • Get the word out about your garden! Publicize, promote, and connect your garden projects with your school and greater community. 
  • Engage students from afar by asking them to submit their favorite garden memories, crops they've grown, or lessons they've learned in the school garden.  
  • Continue harvesting, weighing, and offering produce to your school's food service. 
  • Practice seed saving.
  • Convene a garden committee to hold regular (virtual/distanced) meetings, set goals, plan activities, and broaden the reach of your program.
  • Take notes on the strengths and weaknesses of the garden to assist with planning for next year. Have grace in recognizing that this was a very unusual growing season for school gardens!
  • Read through MSGN's School Garden Coach Manual and identify areas of growth for your garden!
Check out our MONTHLY SCHOOL GARDEN CHECKLIST to learn more about what this month looks like in the garden! For even more information, try out these awesome resources: MOFGA's Planting CalendarFedco's Veggie Chart, and Johnny's Planting Calculator and Succession Planting Template.
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