The mission of the Maine School Garden Network is to promote and support educational gardens for youth, and to encourage school programs which teach healthy eating and environmental stewardship.
For all school gardens in Maine to be connected to the resources and support they need to thrive.
The Maine School Garden Network is a group of committed individuals who believe in the profound importance of teaching children to garden, and the far-reaching value of adding a gardening curriculum to our schools. We volunteer our time and knowledge to provide guidance and support to anyone who works with educational gardens in Maine. Our Board members have experience and skills in such diverse fields as education, nutrition, horticulture, agriculture and soil science, environmental studies, community building, and resource management. We meet monthly in Augusta.
Erika Verrier, our Program Director, joined us in February of 2017. In Fall of 2018 MSGN welcomed Michelle Erhard, former board member, into a new position as Development Director to support the continued growth of the organization. Now with 2 staff members, MSGN looks forward to helping school gardens grow. Together they are working us focus our efforts, reach out to like-minded organizations across the state, and increase our outreach. MSGN office is based out of the Department of Agriculture building in Augusta, and staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (207) 612-8911.
MSGN became an official 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2014. We extend our sincerest gratitude to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association for acting as our fiscal sponsor in previous years.
We can always use new people and ideas. If you would like to find out more about us, volunteer to be a local resource for teachers, or otherwise get involved in the exciting work we are doing, contact us at email@example.com.
We hope you will find valuable information here to get your garden project started, or to enrich an existing project. We appreciate your contributions to the site, and hope you will tell others about the Maine School Garden Network!
History of the Maine School Garden Network
The Maine School Garden Network (MSGN) was created in 2002 through the dedicated volunteer efforts of dietitian Anne Johnson, who was education coordinator at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, and UMO professor Mary Bird. They designed an organization that would support and promote school garden programs, realizing that through such programs children would:
- Learn how food and fiber is grown and gain an understanding of Maine agriculture
- Experience growing, preparing, and enjoying their own food
- Discover first-hand the connection between locally-grown fresh produce and good health
- Participate in a garden-based curriculum to enhance learning across subject areas
- Spend active time outdoors, cultivating an appreciation for nature
- Be part of a project which connects their school with the local community
For several years, the Maine School Garden Network held conferences and distributed newsletters. Unfortunately, Anne Johnson passed away in late 2004, and the work of the MSGN was set aside. In the fall of 2008 Jessica Rhys, formerly of Cultivating Community, gathered volunteers and the Network began holding regular meetings again. During 2009, a MSGN advisory board was formed and we began formulating new goals and projects.
A coordinator was hired in 2013 to organize educator training events, maintain the MSGN website, distribute newsletters, and be available to answer questions or direct them to experts. The Maine School Garden Network proudly became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2014. Our work strives to help new programs find start-up information and connections they need to become viable; and existing programs find the support they need to thrive.
Click here for more info about our history and milestones.