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June 2019 Newsletter





 

Announcing Garden Giveaway Winner!! 
Recap of Maine School Garden Day
School Garden of the Month:
 
*Indian Township School*

A Farewell from MSGN Program Director
Grant Tips from MSGN
Native Plants in the Schoolyard
June Garden Tips
Events & Opportunities

GARDEN GIVEAWAY WINNER!

DEDHAM SCHOOL, DEDHAM, ME




Thank you to all the schools who filled out the survey, you help make our network stronger! Thank you to the following generous sponsors for donating materials:

    



Havn't filled out the survey yet? Please do!
Maine School Garden Network Directory Update
Are you "in network"?

MSGN has embarked on a mission to "Grow the Network" which means we need to hear from you! Our mission relies on understanding WHO our network is, WHERE educational gardens are growing and WHAT we can do to help them thrive in Maine. After nearly 5 years since our last detailed survey we are digging in and getting the dirt on how things are growing. Please complete this survey to join our network directory which will be updated on our website this year. Even if you've completed a survey for us in the past, we need your participation here as well - we look forward to hearing updates. Being part of our network has its perks!

  • Connect with a network of educational gardens throughout Maine
  • Get the support you need with opportunities and resources from MSGN
  • Allow your story to impact the future of our mission
Click below to join our network!


Recap 10th Annual
Maine School Garden Day





Thank you to everyone who joined us for a fun filled day of learning! 

Trenton Elementary School was buzzing with more than 70 enthusiastic participants ready to learn about pollinators, seeds, grants and many more things than you ever expected to grow within a school garden. We at MSGN hope you gleaned valuable information to help continue the growth and success of your programs and fuel the enthusiasm for this important work. Thank you for spending the day with us and allowing us to serve you! We also greatly appreciate the kinds words and constructive feedback from the day and will use it to keep growing this annual event into something wonderful each year. 


 
 

School Garden of the Month -
Indian Township School

Indian Township, Maine
      

Exemplifying how the richness in a community can enhance a garden program and support the total wellness of children; ITS continues to strive and achieve their goals. Learn more here!

The Indian Township School is located just outside of Princeton, Maine in Washington County. We are a Pre-K through 8th-grade school that serves the Passamaquoddy people and her children. Even though our school is small, with only 147 students in total, every single one of these students is a warrior. The Passamaquoddy are a part of the “People of the Dawn” because they are one of the first tribes to see the sunrise every day. Just like being the first to see the sunrise, our school is setting the standards for food sovereignty programs at schools.
 
            Two years ago, through a grant from NF2S, our school’s after-school program was able to start up our school garden program. Our FoodCorps service member then, Sam Cottone, was instrumental in the nomination process and application of the grant. The Passamaquoddy O.G.s (Original Gardeners) along with the help of dedicated staff members worked hard to bring our heated greenhouse back to life. As well as build four raised beds and a traditional Three Sisters Garden. Creating the backbone for our school garden program. This school garden became a huge asset to the community. The local community food pantry was able to use the greenhouse to start seedlings so that the food pantry could pass out fresh vegetables all summer and into the fall. Likewise, students were able to take home produce and reap the benefits of their hard work during the school year.
 
Now in our garden’s program third year we are continuing to expand the food programming at our school. In the fall, our garden supplied lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and squash for weekly taste tests provided by our current FoodCorps service member, Allie Cook. Our garden club continued the maintenance of our raised beds and learned about lasagna garden prep so that our Three Sister’s Garden will have nice fertile soil come planting time this spring. This winter our students collaborated with the cafeteria staff and culture teachers to design multilingual salad bar labels. So now all of our students and staff can learn the Passamaquoddy words for local fruits and vegetables as they make their way through the cafeteria. And now in the spring, thanks to our 7th-grade class a pond is being constructed behind our greenhouse, where down the road we plan to grow native wild rice. Then surrounding the pond thanks to the help of ReTreeUs, our students will help plant an orchard full of local and traditional native fruit species. All of this is part of a long-term dream to move our students away from the processed western diet that is currently served in the cafeteria, and provide a more traditional native diet for our students which consists of whole fruits, vegetables, and rice. Lastly, our garden club will be constructing community plots that families will be able to take care of during the summer. So not only will there be more local, native foods in the cafeteria but in our students’ homes as well.
 
            Gardening and nutrition goals at Indian Township School are multifaceted. We strive to focus on emotional/behavioral health, whole body wellness, education, culture, and community food sovereignty. We rely on the wisdom of the elders, family outreach, and the support of both the school administration and tribal government and FoodCorps. We have had a myriad of successes in the last year and we have increasingly lofty goals for the future. 
 
            As our OG membership and enthusiasm continues to rise we are looking forward to transplanting all the beautiful seedlings we currently have planted in the greenhouse. Every day at the school is filled with such excitement about the growth and future of our garden program. But this program would not be where it is today without the hard work of all of its students. It all starts with the students. They are the ones that helped with the construction of the raised beds. They are the ones that planted seedlings in the greenhouse. They are the ones who are designing the pond. They are the ones who are planting the orchard. They are the ones harvesting the vegetables. They are the ones whose eyes fill with joy when we get to go outside for gardening club. They are the Passamaquoddy Original Gardeners and they are going to change that world!


The spotlight could be yours!! Want us to feature your school garden as our School Garden of the Month? Email us today at info@msgn.org 


Thank you to Johnny's Selected Seeds for their continued support for our School Garden of the Month

Farewell from Erika - MSGN Program Director
 
Dear Friends of MSGN,

Thank you for this opportunity to grow with you during my time with MSGN! 


Little more than 2 years ago, I took on this mission to learn and help grow school garden programs across Maine. At the same time, underestimating the capacity in which I would grow too. But I suppose, just like gardens, if we are immersed in communities so dedicated and full of such hope for the future we can't help but grow. The truth is that you all are sowing more than the obvious seeds in your gardens. The carrots are great, however more nourishing are the "seeds" of knowledge, kindness, generosity, gratitude, and peace being cast from all regions of our State that I have witnessed. Please know that your work resonates beyond your gardens, students and schools - it gives us all hope for the future. Whether your purpose for gardening is to engage students in hands on learning, promote nutrition and agriculture or to enhance connections with youth and our environment, please know it has impact and it is recognized!

It is time now for me to step away and focus on my own roots and also consider opportunities to branch out. For now I look forward to enjoying summer with my family to reflect and enjoy our own garden. Thank you all for the shared experiences and relationships that emerged as a result of our work together. They have shaped me personally and I am grateful for every connection - thank you for your "seeds" - good luck and keep growing! 
 
Best Wishes,
Erika Verrier  

Maine Garden Products Support School Gardens!


Got a greenhouse on your wishlist?? Want to support a local business?? 

MSGN is delighted to share that Maine Garden Products, a local producer of heirloom garden accessories including greenhouses, is offering you a discount! Any school affiliated with MSGN will recieve a 10% discount and any family whose students attend a school affiliated with MSGN will recieve a 5% discount.

Visit their website to check out their beautiful greenhouses! Email Wendy for more details. 

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Words of Wisdom = Seeds of Inspiration

MSGN's Board members and network of educators and industry professionals are a wealth of knowledge!

The collective experience and inspiring stories are what strengthens the foundation of our network and keeps kids in Maine growing. Each month in this segment we will provide advice and responses to topics related to garden education and our mission. We hope these "Words of Wisdom" are seeds of inspiration that allow you to cultivate fruitful experiences and help your garden program thrive!
 
We asked MSGN Board Members to finish this sentence, here is what they said!

Maine School Garden Network believes all students should learn in school gardens because...
  • "they are an invitation to connect to self, environment and community."
  • "it is authentic hands on learning that relates directly to their lives both in the present and the future."
  • "gardens grow engaged learners through real-world, hands-on exploration and discovery."
  • "they are unique, rich learning environments that reach all learning styles, all parts of the curriculum, and the body as well as the mind."
  • "school gardens are living laboratories that engage students with different learning styles in hands=on activities which are tied to state standards and they encourage transferable life-long skills."
  • "gardens help foster a sense of curiosity, stewardship, and connection and highlight the power of young people to make change in their community."
  • "they provide an authentic, hands-on learning environment where any subject can be taught and incidental learning almost always takes place. Kids not only learn about growing things but also cooperation, problem solving and teamwork."
  • "it provides opportunities for learning, physical activity and emotional growth."
  • "of the hands-on and environmental learning opportunities in connection to the environmental cycles of water, plants, people, weather and others."
  • "they provide real world experiences for problem solving, creativity and exploration that help to create a well rounded education."
Why do you believe gardening with children is so important?

Reflecting on this purpose can help you bring clarity to your mission to support your school garden. What ever the reason... MSGN is here for you!

Funding School Gardens via Grants & Creativity


Maine School Garden Day was a wealth of knowledge, perhaps one of the most helpful sessions was lead by MSGN Development Director, Michelle Erhard. 
 
Her creativity and  passion for supporting this work has resulted in the growth of MSGN.  To pay it forward, she has developed a robust handout that outlines opportunities for funding garden programs. We invite you to invest some time and check it out! 

Have a funding idea to add? This is an evolving resource, please email Michelle and let her know!

Native Plants for the Schoolyard

Thanks to Heather McCargo founder of Wild Seed Project for presenting a popular topic at Maine School Garden Day. Incorporating native plants in school gardens promotes valuable lessons to students about the natural environment around them and supports wildlife. When we learn to appreciate plants that are already inclined to grow around us, it is a win win!! Consider growing some of the plants on this thorough list on "Favorite Plants for the Schoolyard".

 

 

Team Nutrition Garden Resources

 

USDA Team Nutrition has several resources to connect nutrition education to school and child care gardens, local farms, and farmers markets. We also offer evidenced-based curricula that educators can use to integrate garden-based nutrition education lessons into core educational subjects, such as Math, English Language Arts, and Science. From small pots and container gardens to full garden plots, we have materials that can fit your needs and resources. Schools, summer sites, and child care (centers, homes and sponsors) that participate in USDA’s child nutrition programs may request free printed copies of many of these materials.

 

To learn more and view the variety of materials visit their website. 

Harvest of the Month

Are you participating in Harvest of the Month? Catch up on all the details and learn how you can prepare your garden to be the source for your "Harvest of the Month" here.

June Garden Ideas:

  • Plant tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, Brussel Sprouts (seedlings), beans, carrots, (direct seed) cukes, squash, melons and pumpkins (seedlings or direct seed).
  • Plant annual herbs, summer lettuces, mustards and arugula, as well as annual flowers.
  • Summer care is crucial so plan well. 
    - Enlist the help of staff members, students and their families, as well as interested community members.
    - Make a summer schedule/monthly calendar with weeks/months needing coverage.
    - Enter who’s volunteering, when and phone numbers. Distribute to all involved.
    - Hold a training meeting for volunteers. Explain expectations, where keys and tools are, how to access water and how often to water, etc.
    - Provide a map of the gardens and garden journal and post/place in visible location. - Caregivers can write notes about concerns, food harvested, food pantry deliveries, etc.
  • Consider donating summer produce to local food pantries or needy school community members.
  • Succession planting: do new plantings of salad greens, beans, beets, etc.
  • If you have a hoop or green house, what will you plant over summer. Who’ll open and close it, water plants, check internal temps., etc.
  • Summer garden projects: build a compost system, new raised beds, fencing, new shed, grape arbor, etc.
  • If you haven’t done a salad taste test, do one before school ends. It’ll help with the selection of greens to grow in the fall.

 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:  June 26th, July 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!  
Helpful Tips for Promising Grant Proposals 
MSGN funding expertise consolidated in one thoughtful guide for achieving grant opportunities from start up to follow up. Our "2 cents"  on funding your school garden. 

UPCOMING EVENTS
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
MAITC Grants Program 2019 -
NEW Opportunities!
RetreeUS – orchards for schools, ongoing
New England Grassroots Environment Fund –Seed grants ($250-$1000): ongoing

FUNDRAISER/INFO
Seattle Seed Company Organic Seed Fundraiser

NATIONAL GRANTS
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!

More...
Check out this list of opportunities compiled by KidsGardening.org

A HUGE thank you to our SPONSORS!
















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