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Garden Job Opportunities 2017

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School Garden/Food Access
Job Opportunities

Troy Howard Garden Intern: a part-time stipend position (with delicious garden lunches!) running for 7 weeks over the summer.

Yarmouth School District Garden Coordinator: a part-time (5 hours per week), year-round, district-wide position managing the production and education in the school garden and hoophouse.

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area seeks an AmeriCorps VISTA to increase access to USDA federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the School Breakfast Program, and the Summer Meals Program.
FoodCorps is seeking applicants for its 2017-18 service term. Applications accepted through March 15, 2017. Click on the link above for more information and to apply.
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Troy Howard Middle School Garden Project

 

 “Watching a tiny grain turn into a 12' sunflower is something you can't experience on a computer.”

– The Troy Howard Middle School Garden Project

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The School Garden of the Month feature has a few intentions: to highlight the work of school garden educators in Maine, to show the incredible possibilities that exist in school garden programs, and to provide models and resources for gardens around the state. It can be intimidating to see the success of some of these sites, but hopefully by seeing the trajectory, you can draw some inspiration and take your program to the next level, one small seed at a time.

When discussing model school gardens, one would be remiss not to mention Troy Howard Middle School. Educators Steve Tanguay, Don White, and Linda Hartkopf began the program in 2000. Using their combined abilities, they wrote grants and received funding to start the program. Mr. Jon Thurston was hired on as the Project’s Agricultural Educator. With strategic partnerships, they worked with the administration to designate a garden space. They built a heated greenhouse. They collaborated on an integrative garden curriculum. They worked with school food service and created a path to bring produce into the school cafeteria. They designed a composting system to limit food waste and close the loop. The collective efforts of this team working with many other staff members and students laid a strong foundation for the extensive, well-developed program that exists today.

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Pineapple Carrot Muffins

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from the Manchester Learning Gardens

 

Makes 12 muffins - double the recipe for one classroom

 

2 medium carrots, rinsed, peeled and grated (enough for ¾ cup)

1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice

5 Tbsp. canola oil

¼ cup cold water

1 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

A pinch of ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, or apple pie spice

Non-stick cooking spray

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

 

  1. In a medium bowl mix pineapple and its juice, oil, water, vinegar and ¾ cup of the grated carrot. Mix with a fork to combine.

 

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Blend with a fork to break up any lumps.

 

  1. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

 

  1. Coat muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

 

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Manchester Learning Gardens

Pumpkins 2The Manchester School in Windham, ME has been bringing gardening to its students since 1999, when a small $300 WalMart Grant got them started. As a guidance counselor, Pam Lanz, who was prompted by the then principal Kassy Clements, applied for the funds to beautify the front of the school after the inside had undergone a major renovation. It only takes a little bit of nudging, belief, financial support, and some beautiful flowers to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Pam and a core group of staff members, particularly Stacey Sanborn (4th grade teacher), parent volunteers and of course the students started the flower gardens. For teaching purposes and to save a bit of money, they started their own seeds – where it all starts – so students could learn what seeds need to grow and observe plant life cycles from seed to harvest.

20161003_131838In 2009, after attending an outstanding workshop at Gorham Middle School on starting and sustaining vegetable gardens at schools, Lanz, and teachers Peter Allen, Sabrina Nickerson and others decided to venture into growing vegetables in raised beds.

The Manchester Learning Gardens now consist of three flower garden areas, a hoop house used to extend the growing season, seven 4' X 10' raised beds, and a round in-ground bed for vegetables and herbs. And this mental map wouldn’t be complete without the additions of the tool shed, picnic tables, arbor, and three bin compost system - if your school is looking to compost, these folks may be able to give you some guidance!

We can also look to the Manchester Learning Gardens for lessons on how to avoid stagnation in the garden. More and more produce has made its way from the garden beds into the cafeteria and beyond, with donations going to the Windham Food Pantry over the summer. They’ve also managed to make it financially stable through an annual plant sale and other fundraisers, private donations, grant writing, and some district money when it was available. Unfortunately, they have since lost that funding source, but are hopeful about future funds for a garden coach position.

 

Ms. Pam LanzGarlic harvest 2016, one of the garden leaders at Manchester, has been an incredible asset to the MSGN Board for 3 years as of this past October. Pam brings a unique perspective, having served as an educator for 36 years, and having been a driving force for the garden since its inception. She’s a certified Master Gardener, and if we could give her a certification, we’d dub her Master Board Member and School Garden Advocate. Always willing to help, Pam has lent the voice of educators, with the understanding of the challenges that teachers face every day. After 17 years, she continues to serve on the Manchester Gardens for Learning committee, facilitates classroom lessons, brings students outside on a weekly basis, helps order seeds, participates in cooking and tasting projects (check out their Curried Carrot Soup and Pineapple Carrot Muffin recipes!), coordinates fundraising events, and performs weekend and summer care.

In her own words, “I know from a firsthand perspective the demands put on educators and the every day challenges we face, even more so if you're trying to be part of starting and maintaining school gardens, motivating others to get involved and integrating garden related curriculum into the traditional school subjects and standards that teachers have to teach.” Still, she believes in this work and has certainly observed the benefits: “I've seen firsthand the joy, enthusiasm, curiosity, cooperation and real involvement by kids when they're outside working in the gardens and doing hands-on garden related lessons in the classroom. It makes all of the hard work of having and sustaining a school garden, well worth the effort!”

To contact Pam with questions or comments, email planz@maine.rr.com

Check out these delicious RECIPES from the Manchester Learning Gardens:

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

Curried Carrot Soup

Cabbageintoslaw

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