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February 2019 Newsletter





 
 
Your voice, our BOOST - Survey
~~ Registration OPEN~~ 

Maine School Garden Day

School Garden of the Month:
 *Trenton Elementary - MSGD Host*

Meet the MSGN Board
Farm to School Network News
New Grants and Fundraisers

February Garden Tips
Events & Opportunities

Please share your voice, BOOST our mission!

 
MSGN has been selected as one of 3 organizations to participate in a pilot program from the Quimby Family Foundation to help support our comunications and storytelling work as an organization. The project is appropriately named BOOST! As part of the project, we are looking to get our core stakeholders to respond to this Community Survey by February 15. This quick survey is designed to gather insights into how we can better spread the word about our work as well as capture stories of the impact we are making. You are a valued part of our community and we'd be grateful to have your voice represented.
 
  
 
Thank you from MSGN!

REGISTRATION OPEN!

Join us for the 10th Annual

Maine School Garden Day





A full day of workshops, tours, networking and inspiration!

Whether you're  just scratching the surface or you're ready to dig into another year of gardening... this day is for you. Come surround yourself with garden educators, enthusiasts and professionals who want to help you grow with your garden and see your program thrive!


Learn more about the host of MSGD 2019
Trenton Elementary School
in the School Garden of the Month feature below.

Local foods lunch featured by Trenton Elementary Chef


CEUs and certificates awarded to educators

Early Registration $35 available until April 19th



Our friends at MOFGA are helping us manage online registration this year, we are thankful for this and the many partnerships that make MSGD a wonderful success!

For mail in registration forms click here.

Scholarships available thanks to Maine Agriculture in the Classroom.

Stay posted 0n our Facebook event page.


Have questions? Email  us today!
 

School Garden of the Month -
Trenton Elementary School

Trenton, Maine
      

Just a small taste of "what's been growing on" since the last time we checked in with this inspiring program and a preview of our exciting location for Maine School Garden Day 2019. Check it out... see you there soon! 

What’s been growing on at Trenton Elementary School since the last feature?  It turns out, a lot!  The last two years have been great for our Farm to School Program with tons of new initiatives, great new community partners, and a lot of students with dirt on their hands and fruits and veggies in their bellies.

 
During our 2017-2018 school year we were fortunate enough to be the Food Corps Service site in Hancock County.  We had an amazing service member, Nicole Guerri, who helped us build a solid foundation for Farm to School at Trenton.  With the help of Nicole we were able to streamline and solidify our Harvest of the Month Program which is currently in its third year and going strong.  We have participation from all of our students in the program through growing, harvesting, taste testing, and making displays with information about highlighted “harvests”.  Just to name a few examples of what our students are involved in, our second graders have taken over tapping our maple trees for our “March Maple Magic”.  Third graders each year build mini cranberry bogs to display during the month of November and at our community Thanksgiving lunch.  We were also lucky enough to work with Maine Seacoast Vegetables starting last year to highlight sea vegetables as a Harvest.  Our students loved the smoothies with sea veggies hidden inside.  It was such a hit that we did a second taste-test with the sea veggies in our cauliflower crust pizza.  
   

Our garden has expanded quite a bit with the donation of four more raised beds.  We have been able to grow a lot of our own food with each grade having the opportunity to harvest different fruits and veggies throughout the year.  Some of our new crops this year were sweet potatoes, ground cherries, and a variety of edible flowers!  Our 2018 eighth grade class donated a hydroponic Tower Garden as their class gift which has been up and running this year.  We are currently growing greens indoors for our January harvest of the month. We will be making a “greens” pesto with frozen basil from the garden and claytonia, kale and spinach for our taste test (results to be determined)!  Last year we also were able to start a mini aquaponics system in second grade where we have grown greens, herbs, and now some flowers to bring a little color to the grey winters here.  

 

We have been able to join forces with a bunch of new community partners.  Our students have had field trips to farms on MDI to help with fall harvests, headed to Horse Power farm to meet the animals that help farm, and had visitors from classes from College of the Atlantic.  We were lucky enough to have COA come and teach our students about the importance of pollinators just before they planted their pollinator garden last spring.  Not only has our pollinator garden expanded yearly but also, with the help of a grant from Friends of Acadia our, now eighth graders, were able to build an outdoor classroom for everyone to enjoy.  Although it is still a work in progress, they were able to fix some of our trails with bog-bridging as well as clear and construct a natural classroom in the woods.  It has been a huge hit with a lot of the classes.  This year will be our third annual Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration.  Our whole school, K-8 spends the day gardening, cleaning up our woods and trails, and enjoying the outdoors.  At the end of the day, with the generosity of Eagle Arboriculture, we have been able to plant new fruit trees each year in our back field.  We have a tiny orchard starting and love watching it grow yearly!  It is amazing to be a part of such a supportive and collaborative community.

 

These are just a few of the highlights of what has been happening since our last update.  We are so excited to be hosting the Maine School Garden Day this spring!  Come check us out!  We hope to see you there! 
See how much they've grown since the last time we featured Trenton Elementary School in our
March 2017 Newsletter.
Tour their gardens and learn more about their program at Maine School Garden Day 2019 - REGISTER TODAY!


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.

Help us grow! Host a Resource Rally in 2019

 
MSGN is excited about the new year and our mission to "Growing the Network". The part we are most excited about... getting to know you! 2019 is a year for digging into the programs we serve and understanding the challenges and resources associated with your garden programs throughout Maine. We want to grow with you! So,we are planning a series of "Resource Rallies", which are opportunities to gather locally with garden educators and leaders where we will:

 
  • Offer workshops and information and resources related to our programs and from industry partners
  • Help to build local networks
  • Hone in on regional garden resources
  • Discuss common challenges
  • Survey program needs and development opportunities
Throughout the gardening season we will be facilitating these events throughout Maine and we are currently looking for host sites. Are you interested in gathering like-minded garden folks and helping us "Grow the Network"? If so we would love to talk about hosting with you.

Please contact us today!   

We are thankful for the support for these Resource Rallies provided by

Pleased to Meet You!

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

Introducing:

 Jared Grenier, MSGN Board Member

 
A recent graduate from the University of Maine at Orono, Jared Grenier, is the FoodCorps service member at RSU 40. He is based in Waldoboro and spends his time at district schools, including Miller School and Medomak Middle School.

Jared is a native of Albion and a graduate of Lawrence High School in Fairfield. “FoodCorps places service members in high-need areas across the country,” he said. Jared’s inspiration to serve in FoodCorps came from his family. His mother is the executive director of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, and he grew up on a farm and participated in 4-H. The idea behind FoodCorps is to provide kids a connection to healthy food at an early age. “We are addressing kids’ connection to healthy food, hoping to establish good habits early on,” he said, quoting the organization’s co-founder, Cecily Upton.

Jared is a new board member to Maine School Garden Network but has worked with the board for years through Maine Ag in the Classroom. His favorite program is the MSGN gratitude tree given to schools around the state. His passion for gardening and cooking came at a young age, through a combination of love for health, teaching, and the outdoors.


Thank you for all you do to support garden education and our team at MSGN!  


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.

Grant Opportunity - Action for Healthy Kids
 
AFHK will be accepting applications for their signature school grants for the 2019-2020 school year from February 2nd through April 5th, and they’re looking for more Maine schools to support! (AFHK) is a national grassroots organization that mobilizes schools, parents and communities to promote health and wellness for school-aged children and K-12 schools across the country.
 
Below are the available school grant programs: 
  • Game On Grants: Provide awards of $1,000 to support physical activity and nutrition initiatives that promote student health and wellness. Interested schools should submit a proposal that includes a physical activity AND a nutrition component (the nutrition initiative can include the building of or expanding on a school garden!). For more initiative ideas, please see the list of Game On’s no-cost program activities here. Priority may be given to schools with greater than 50% eligibility for Free and Reduced Lunch, but all schools are strongly encouraged to apply. Award decisions are based on building enrollment, project type, potential impact and a school’s ability to mobilize parents and students around school wellness initiatives. Register for the Game On Grants Webinar, scheduled for February 20th, now to learn more about this grant opportunity!
     
  • Breakfast Grants: Provide awards ranging from $500 to $3,000 to support increased breakfast participation. Eligible schools may apply to pilot or expand their School Breakfast Programs, including alternative or universal alternative breakfast programming. School must participate in the NSBP and have a Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility of 40% or more, OR provide breakfast at no charge to all students. Register for the Breakfast Grants Webinar, scheduled for February 21st, now to learn more about this grant opportunity!
 
All eligible and interested schools serving grades K-12 throughout Maine are encouraged to apply! Visit ActionforHealthyKids.org/Grants for more information. Please contact Brean Witmer, the Portland-based Eastern Regional Manager at AFHK, with any questions, for technical assistance when completing an application or to discuss project ideas you may be interested in proposing for your students! Brean can be reached at bwitmer@actionforhealthykids.org or at (312) 753-5056.

Farm to School Network News


 
Harvest of the Month - Our friends at Maine Farm to School Network are rolling out a Harvest of the Month pilot program this Spring. Be on the lookout for more info and how you can incorporate Harvest of the Month activities in the school garden. 
 
Save the Date for the Maine Farm to School Conference! Returning to Lewiston this fall, this event will take place October 4 and will follow the theme, "Innovations in Farm to School." This event draws stakeholders from across Maine's Farm to School landscape, including school gardeners. Requests for presenters are coming soon. Please join us!
 

Learn more on Farm to School Network's website

Coast of Maine - "Growing Good" Donations

At Coast of Maine, we believe in supporting education, local retailers, and empowering students to make healthy physical, emotional and environmental choices. Instead of a monetary donation, we happily donate Coast of Maine products to school gardens.

All New England area schools are welcome to participate, and the process is simple!

School garden coordinators need to contact Coast of Maine’s Director of Marketing, Cameron Bonsey.
Cameron will coordinate with your local Coast of Maine retailer to donate up to 10 bags of soil for you to pick up!

Our donation helps fund your program and will bring the local retailer closer to the community. It also serves and acts as a seed starter for the kid’s lifelong love of gardening, health and the environment. In short, we all win.

Cameron Bonsey (207) 879-1197  
cameronb@coastofmaine.com

Story & Fundraiser


The author of "The Flower Patch Pals", Gayle L. Plummer has invited us to share her book and help schools use it as a potential fundraising opportunity. Books like this get kids talking about the garden and learning life lessons. In this 6 chapter storybook, Polly Pansy begins the journey as she wakes up in the greenhouse as new little seedling; she then takes the children with her to The Flower Patch!  The kids will also meet Benny the Bachelor Button, Rita Rose, Hollis Hollyhock, Zelda Zinnia and Willey the Woolly Thyme - All sharing their day day in the garden and solving problems that arise, as they all try to live together peacefully, in their little patch of the world. They even make friends with the members of The Veggie Patch!
 
* This book is targeted for ages 5 through 11. Hardcover & Softcover available.
 
To learn more, email Gayle for details!

February Garden Ideas:

  • Focus on classroom garden related activities /curriculum and planning for spring gardening.
    Lesson on seed packets and the info they provide and selection of flowers (if growing them). Select veggie seeds and materials after meeting with food service staff.
  • Do a lesson on monocot and dicot seeds (lesson plan available from York and Cumberland Co. Cooperative Extension Services) See: teachmefoodandfarms.org 
  • Map out where you want things to grow using crop rotation and companion planting. Keep maps from season to season.
  • See food service director or school manager regarding what to grow that they can use. Have students meet with them as a class or select individual students to interview them and report back to the class (es).
  • If growing in an unheated hoop or green house, start hardy greens (lettuces, spinach, mustards, radishes, etc.) by the end of month and do succession planting over the next six weeks or so.
  • Contact MSGN for a visit!
  • Sign up to host the "Gratitude Tree"
  • Register for MSGD 2019

 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.
We are building our network and our team!
Are you interested in having an impact on garden education in Maine? Join us for updates on statewide programs and projects - let's grow together!
Future Meeting Dates:  Feb 27th, March 20th, April 24th
Meetings are held in Augusta, inquire about remote connections.
We also welcome support for special projects via committees like fundraising, event planning, technical support and more. Want more information about current projects at MSGN? We'd love to work with you!
Email us today at
info@msgn.org

KEY RESOURCES

School Garden Coach Manual 
A collaborative collection of information resources and perspectives in a "life changing" manual proudly developed by MSGN for you!  

UPCOMING EVENTS

2019 Maine Flower Show: March 28th - 31st
2019 Maine School Garden Day - April 27th
New England Farm to Institute Summit - April 2nd -4th
MAITC's Summer Teacher's Institute - July 29th - Aug 2nd
Maine Farm to School Conference - Oct 4th
View MOFGA's events calendar here.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

LOCAL GRANTS
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
MOFGA's Russel Libby Agricultural Scholar Awards - 3 prizes $1,500 March 20th

FUNDRAISER/INFO
Seattle Seed Company Organic Seed Fundraiser

NATIONAL GRANTS
KidsGardening Grants - Carton2Garden due March 25th 
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!
Action for Healthy Kids - grants for physical activity and healthy eating - available until April 5th

A HUGE thank you to our SPONSORS!












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