Educators: Celebrate Your Garden Project with a
School Garden Open House
during the week of September 21-25, 2015
This fall, as a complement to Maine Harvest Lunch Week, educational gardens around the state will open their gardens to the public, to showcase their garden programs and students' hard work. Please join in this statewide Open House so you can display your garden project to the community, gather support for your program, and spread the word about the benefits of a garden curriculum. This is also a great time to get your students involved, sprucing up the garden, thinking about the work they've put in, and showing pride in their accomplishments.
Possibilities for the day's events are unlimited, for example: garden tours, kids' games, a display of student classroom work based on the garden, speakers, composting demos, a fundraising dinner, auction or bake sale, local chefs grilling vegetables, local farmers selling their pumpkins. You set your own hours and decide how big or small you want the event to be. The only requirement is that the event be free and open to the public.
Go here for a page of ideas for activities for your Open House event.
Here are some ideas for publicizing your event.
Here are some ideas for educational exhibits for the public.
A great resource for you is the University of Maine Cooperative Extension offices around the state. Check out this list of some of their publications (available on line or at an office). You might use them with your students, or as the basis for an educational exhibit for parents.
Extension has a wealth of information on line, such as this article on Tips for Kid's Snacks and Lunches, or this one on Keeping Children Active While Exploring Maine Agriculture. Also check out Food Corps, an exciting new program in which Maine is participating. Designed to combat childhood obesity through school gardens, nutrition education, and healthy food access, FoodCorps recruits young leaders for a year of public service to build school gardens and get fresh, local food into schools. Ten enthusiastic volunteers are in Maine this year, working with school children and assisting with school gardens around the state.
Extension also coordinates the Master Gardener Volunteer program. These skilled volunteers may be able to provide help with educational activities at your event. Contact your county Extension office for info.
If your school participates in Maine Harvest Lunch Week, go here for a page of extensive resources for bringing local farm-fresh food into your school's cafeteria, including the Harvest Lunch curriculum materials, and a set of wonderful recipes. Also check out this page on the nationwide Farm To School movement, on which Harvest Lunch is based.