Maine School Garden Network
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.
ReTreeUS is accepting applications for 2014 Educational School Orchards. The orchards include signs to make orchards accessible to students for self-guided tours. The organization also leads workshops on the educational and nutritional importance of growing food locally and at home.
A $500 Do Something Seed Grant is given out every week to community action projects. These grants can be used towards project ideas and programs that are just getting started or projects that are already developed and sustainable.
The National FFA Organization is pleased to announce the availability of funds, to help fight hunger, in the form of a competitive grant for chapters. The FFA: Food For All grants support National FFA’s Feeding Our World – Starting at Home initiative.
The New England Grassroots Environment Fund has a SEED grant available to help volunteer groups launch and build their newly evolving project(s). The deadline is rolling, with decisions made in about three weeks. The range is $250 to $1,000.
The Edible Schoolyard has compiled a list of fundraising resources and best practices for writing grants.
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Grant Program: The Maine Agriculture Specialty License plate revenues make $60,000 available again this year! Many thanks to these license plate owners! Schools and non-profit agriculture education initiatives across the state may apply for this competitive funding. Last year 35 programs were funded across the state in amounts ranging from $1,000 - $5,000.
To donate to the MSGN:
Please make your check out to:
Maine School Garden Network
and mail to:
Maine School Garden Network
28 State House Station
Thank you for supporting educational gardening in Maine!
Even though our name specifies "school" gardens, be assured that we promote educational gardens of all persuasions, whether they are located at a public school, private school, community garden, summer camp, private educational organization, home school, or elsewhere.
The Maine School Garden Network collaborates with various state organizations, including Maine Ag in the Classroom, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Healthy Maine Partnerships, and the Maine Farm to School Network.
Visit the website of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association for a wealth of information and a full calendar of regional events.
Vina Lindley, Chair, University of Maine Cooperative Extension (nonvoting member)
Richard Hodges, Vice Chair, ReTreeUS
Willie Sawyer Grenier, Treasurer, Maine Agriculture in the Classroom
Kat Coriell, Landscaper
John Ibsen, Ferry Beach Ecology School
Ellen Libby, University of Maine Cooperative Extension (nonvoting member)
Pam Lanz, Manchester School gardener and retired School Counselor
Sara McKee, Southern Maine Community College
Jessica Nixon, Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Conservation (nonvoting member)
Kat Quintal, Maine Farmers and Gardeners Association Certification Services
Welcome to our website!
Check out our Garden Directory for an overview of some of the many educational gardens in Maine.
If you currently have an educational garden, please register it in the Directory! Our goal is to have a complete listing of school gardens in Maine, not only for documention, but to give you a chance to network with other garden coordinators.