Hello School Gardeners and their supporters!
I hope everyone’s gardens are bursting with tomatoes, pumpkins and kale….and not too many weeds. It was an interesting growing season, with so much rain in the first half, and so little in the second. And bugs galore!
First, I want to remind you about the second annual, statewide School Garden Open House taking place on Saturday, September 29. By holding an Open House at your garden, you generate enthusiasm around the school, and gather support for your project from the greater community. It can be as simple as an afternoon of student-led garden tours, or as exciting as a day-long carnival capped with a harvest dinner. You get to choose; but please consider taking part and building support for school gardens everywhere. The home page of our website will get you started, with links to activity ideas and resources. If you are having an event at your school, please send me the details so I can put it up on our website and add it to publicity.
The Open House is timed to follow the Maine Harvest Lunch Week (Sept. 24-29), which is a great way to get your school started on the path to incorporating fresh, local food into cafeteria meals. If you have a school garden, there’s even more ways to tie in local farmers and cooking with this week’s focus. Here’s a page of resources, including curriculum tie-ins and recipes for Harvest Lunch: http://www.mofga.org/Resources/MaineHarvestLunch/tabid/817/Default.aspx Here is the Dept. of Ed’s page: http://www.maine.gov/education/sfs/farm.html
Second, I hope you are making plans to visit the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity next weekend! School groups get in free on Friday, the 21st, you just need to enter at the school gate in the north parking lot. Be sure to visit the Young Maine tent, right beside the Exhibition Hall. This tent gathers all sorts of exhibitors with a focus on Maine’s youth; schools, camps, 4-H, Cooperative Extension, Maine Ag in the Classroom, and or course the Maine School Garden Network. Stop by our booth and say hi, and check out the school garden displays at our table and at the Ag in the Classroom table as well. If you can’t bring your students, please go yourself over the weekend; there’s a wealth of learning and fun at this unique fair. Go here for all the info: http://www.mofga.org/TheFair/tabid/135/Default.aspx
Here’s an opportunity to win some funds for your garden. The Green Education Foundation and Gardener’s Supply Co. are awarding a grant of $5K to an established youth garden program to support their project’s sustainability and growth. Go here for the info: http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/greenthumbchallengesub/green-thumb-challenge-winners.html
Finally, here’s a resource you may not have seen. The National Gardening Association has a website, kidsgardening.org, which has lots of info on gardening with youth. They have a free monthly newsletter you can sign up for. Their focus is nationwide, and you have to sift a bit to find the gems, but much of it is free. Check out their ‘Lesson and Activity Ideas’ for classroom lesson ideas, and look at the Kids Shop for helpful books. http://www.kidsgardening.org/school-gardening
Enjoy the fall, and have a great school year!
Maine School Garden Network