September 2017 Newsletter


Join us at Common Ground Fair
"Fairly" Good Odds
Welcome New FoodCorps Service Members!
School Garden of the Month:
 ** Eastport Elementary School **
Do You Smell That?
September Garden Tips

Upcoming events & opportunities

Come see us at Common Ground Fair!

The Maine School Garden Network will be set up in the Young Maine Tent again this year at Common Ground Fair as well as the exhibit hall. Additionally, we will be hosting a talk at 1pm on Saturday the 22nd in the Railcar Speakers Tent titled "School Gardens: the Best Thing Since Sliced Tomatoes!" by Ryan Martin of the Islesboro Central School Horticultural Program.

We also welcome everyone to participate in exhibiting their School Garden Grown produce! See details on how and when to bring your entries
here. Please contact us if you need any assistance, we look forward to seeing you all there! 

"Fairly" Good Odds with School Garden Grown

WOW!! SEVEN blue ribbons and counting!!
Schools throughout Maine are realizing the fun and reward of exhibiting their work and produce at Maine Agricultural Fairs. Exhibit halls are delighted to show off the work of school gardens and display the fruits of their labor. It's a win win and we don't want you to miss your opportunity!
There are still plenty more opportunities to submit entries at fairs across the State including:
Oxford County Fair, Farmington Fair, Common Ground Fair, Cumberland Fair and Fryeberg Fair. We are expecting a HUGE turn out at Common Ground Fair this year - so exciting!!

Congratulations to: 

  • Thomaston Grammar School 5th Grade Garden Club - First Place booth display at Union Fair!
  • Albert S. Hall School in Waterville - First Place carrots at Clinton Lions Fair!!

Sign up to receive more information on opportunities to exhibit your School Garden Grown here!

Welcome Maine FoodCorps Service Members!

12 FoodCorps Service Members have recently been placed in their new communities here in Maine! MSGN welcomes them and appreciates their dedication to their mission of connecting kids to healthy food in schools, so they can lead healthier lives and reach their full potential.
FoodCorps Service members have been critical to the success of many garden projects and programs that we work and learn with here at MSGN.  These individuals make a tremendous impact on the local schools and communities in which they serve; leaving lasting impressions on the lives of students who have the privilege of working with them.

In the short time I've worked with MSGN, I've heard success stories and seen results that would not otherwise be possible without FoodCorps. I've met with garden leaders in the outdoor classroom shelter in Dexter, scouted the newly designed gardens in Waterville, walked campuses surrounded by the plots and orchards in Ellsworth, and stood in the freezer earned through grant work to protect a renowned heirloom seed project in Waldoboro - just to name a few projects influenced by FoodCorps! In addition, MSGN is fortunate to have both Michelle Erhard, the Maine FoodCorps Fellow, and Vina Lindley, the Maine FoodCorps Partner Supervisor from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, serving on our Board.
It is inspiring to see the positive approach to big challenges in our food systems here in Maine and throughout the country. We look forward to hearing more about their amazing work and wish them the best as they set off to do great things in their new communities!

To learn more about FoodCorps, their mission and impact visit their website or connect to their FoodCorps Maine Facebook page.

School Garden of the Month -
Eastport Elementary School

Eastport, Maine

They say it takes a village! So true is this when it comes to the story of the Eastport Elementary School Garden. Parents, teachers and FoodCorps all coming together to provide an opportunity for students to learn and grow!

Eastport Elementary School serves roughly 90 students in kindergarten through 8th grade. The school gardens were established several years ago by a parent (Connie Knight) and former teacher. Two enthusiastic parents, Connie and Amy Zipperer, raised a significant amount of funding through grants in order to establish raised beds and a toolshed. (They were also influential in creating raised beds at the neighboring Shead High School!) EES’s growing space consists of two raised beds and two in-ground beds, plus a separate in-ground garlic patch as well as a flower garden around the school’s sign.
The modest harvest that comes out of the Eastport Elementary School is gobbled up by students—sometimes it is incorporated into school lunch and other times it is used in taste tests. The garden is also used to teach lessons during the school day. Students learn about topics such as life cycles (when that pesky spinach starts to bolt), exploring the five senses (with lemon balm abound), and making measurements (by precisely planting kale).

One of the biggest challenges EES gardeners face is the local deer population who seem to love the school garden as much as students do! In order to deter the four-legged pests from munching away the whole harvest, the innovators of Eastport have a strategy of planting many deer-resistant crops: garlic, onion, oregano, crocus, and daffodils. Additionally, the two raised beds have removable wooden structures that hold plastic netting to make the more sought-after crops inaccessible to the deer. The Eastport Elementary School community sees challenges as opportunities and keeps growing their garden!

Eastport Elementary School welcomes Samantha Cottone their FoodCorps Service Member!

Join our Team!

The Maine School Garden Network is seeking enthusiastic new Board Members!

Are you motivated to support the development of school gardens across Maine? Do you have valuable experiences and connections that can serve our mission?

Let us know! Email us to learn more about this opportunity!

Do You Smell That?

Garlic season is upon us, and what a wonderful season it is!

John Thurston, an MSGN Board Member and garlic grower extraordinaire says, "Planting garlic with students is great because if you plant garlic in the Fall you are sure to get garlic in the summer!" 

Growing garlic can be rewarding in so many ways:
  • It is a fun and easy crop for students of all ages
  • It can make a successful fundraiser for garden clubs
  • It is useful in school cafeterias
  • Eating garlic is good for your heart!
Want to get growing? Visit University of Maine Cooperative Extension for growing tips and techniques.  
Don't miss these upcoming events!

Bug Maine-ia at Maine State Museum, Augusta, ME
Bug Maine-ia will be held this year on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 from 9 am to 3 pm. Entomologists, environmental educators, foresters, and many others will be on hand to guide students and visitors through the big and tiny world of insects. Get up close and personal with some of the world's most fascinating insects at a live insect zoo and explore other displays that show the many fascinating ways that bugs affect our lives. Entomologists will also help students collect and identify insects found on the museum grounds (weather permitting).

Wild Seed Project - Summer Events
Be sure to check out the fun line up of walks, talks and workshops for ongoing learning opportunities this summer. From the fields to the ponds you'll learn about native plants, herbs and pollinators and how to incorporate them into your garden. Learn more about Wild Seed Project and these events on their website.

School Garden Intensive

A school garden intensive for teachers and school garden educators. Participants will receive garden lessons, Wild Blueberry Curricula, Agriculture for ME Resources and more! October 14, 2017 9:00 - 4:00 at Sebago Elementary School (283 Sebago Rd, Sebago, ME 04029 for GPS). Participants will receive 7 contact hours or .7 CEU's from the University of Maine. Register online using Eventbrite. Or you can register by mail via the registration here. Registration deadline is October 1.

September Garden Tips: 

  • Harvest! Show off your produce at Agricultural Fairs with "School Garden Grown" an promote awareness of your program.
  • 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, weighing, and offering produce to your school‘s food service.
  • Start an after school cooking club and use garden produce when possible.
  • Take notes on the strengths and weaknesses of the garden to assist with planning for next year.
  • Start saving seeds!
  • Finalize plans for your own School Garden Open House Day. Coordinate with school food service and their Harvest Lunch Week activities.
  • 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.
  • Publicize, promote, and connect your garden projects with your school and greater community.
  • Promote your garden program with pictures and descriptions on your garden, school, food service, and district websites.
  • Create a garden committee and hold regular meetings to set goals, plan activities, and broaden the reach of your program.
  • Update your information in the MSGN school garden directory.

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.
Isn't it Wild!?
Let's face it, with natures help we are able to grow some pretty delicious food in the garden. But without our influence, delectably wild taste testing opportunities are all around us. It can be a bit risky to sample nature's palate without knowing what's what, so here is a fun resource that was inspired by links on our website. 
Happy Fall hiking, bon appetite!  
Classroom Connections

Get inspired to connect your classroom with agriculture and the garden. Find curriculum, activities, field trips, opportunities, events  and so much more! While you're at it, subscribe to their newsletter and continue learning each month with Maine Agriculture in the Classroom!



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!


Sept 12th: Bug Maine-ia (Augusta)

Sept 22nd - 24th: Common Ground Fair  (Unity)

Oct 14th: School Garden Intensive (Sebago)

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

NEW! Save the Soil Challenge -
STEM Challenge for grades 5 - 8, discover topsoil importance and convservation and win cool prizes! Due Nov 1st
CHS/NAITC Classroom Grant – Teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade who have agriculture projects they would like to fund to help them teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies and more are eligible to apply. Fifteen $500 grants will  be awarded. The deadline for applications is Sept. 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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