Educators: Celebrate Your Garden with a
SCHOOL GARDEN OPEN HOUSE
Kick off the school year with an Open House to showcase your garden programs and students' hard work. These events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, so look out for offerings in your area, and don't forget to spread the word!
WHY HOST AN OPEN HOUSE??
- Display your garden project to the community
- Gather support for your program
- Spread the word about the benefits of a garden curriculum
- Get your students involved by sprucing up the garden, thinking about the work they've put in, and showing pride in their accomplishments!
More resources and what you can offer:
Possibilities for the day's events are unlimited: garden tours, games, a display of student classroom work based on the garden, speakers, composting demos, a fundraising dinner 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.
MSGN will be publicizing the open house in statewide media, and possibly adding more resources to these pages. Please let us know if there's something in particular you would like more information on, or help with. (email firstname.lastname@example.org) Really, we hope that you will make this day your own special celebration of your school, your garden, and your students. And we hope that by doing so, your community will feel included and more invested in your project and your school as well.
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 awesome program sending full-time service members to sites around the state. 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. This year, there are 12 service sites around the state benefitting from FoodCorps activities!
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.