August 2014 Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair - Sept. 19, 20, 21 (Unity)

Maine Harvest Lunch Week - Sept. 22 - 26

School Garden Open House - Sept. 27

Orcharding Workshop with John Bunker - Sept. 28 (Deer Isle)


Captain Planet Foundation Grant

White-Reindhart Mini Grants

Green Works Grant

Plum $500 Youth Grants

Digital Wish Grants

Fruit Tree 101

Let's Move! Salad Bars to Schools

School and Community Garden Grants

The Flannel Shirt Fund


A garden educator wants to know:

"What are other schools doing for testing of soil? Are they testing for lead, chemicals or pesticides?"

Send your comments


Do you have an outdoor classroom as part of your school garden program? Tell us about it! Send us a picture! We are seeking additional presenters for this topic at the upcoming Maine Farm to School Conference.

Contact our coordinator 


Like us on Facebook and share your photos, ideas and questions with other school gardens!

School Garden Open House

We would like to invite you to participate in the 4th annual School Garden Open House!

Saturday, September 27th, 2014.
Plan now to hold an Open House event at your school garden, in conjunction with Maine Harvest Lunch week.
Open your garden to the public, provide tours, have fun and educational activities.
Generate support for your garden program among parents and the community.
Help your students show pride in their hard work.
Recruit new volunteers and supporters for your garden.
Help to publicize school gardens in Maine!
Click here for info on planning your event; email with questions.
View the list of participating schools here.

Regional Gatherings

The Quimby Family Foundation has generously granted the Maine School Garden Network with funding to offer Regional Gatherings.  These events will provide an opportunity for educators to network with other  school gardens in their region, share ideas, troubleshoot challenges, and place a name and face to resource professionals. Participants will return to their schools energized and better equipped to engage with students, administration and volunteers, to manage the garden, and integrate curriculum.  

A breakout session is being planned for the upcoming Maine Farm to School Conference on November 1 in Ellsworth.  Participants will be grouped by region for roundtable discussion to provide feedback that will help design workshop format and content.  What ideas do you look forward to sharing with other school gardens?  What workshop topics would you like to learn more about?  Please contact ourcoordinator with suggestions and interest in hosting the event in your region. 


Maine Harvest Lunch Week

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Could you use help in the garden this year? Of course!  Including volunteers in the garden will not only lessen the burden of maintainance tasks, it will strengthen  the community's support for your program.

The USDA offers a webinar on Engaging Volunteers in the Garden.  

If you are a garden seeking volunteers, consider making use of theVolunteer Role Description provided by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Develop a clear description of tasks to be completed and your expectations of a volunteer.  Have prospective volunteers fill out the form and evaluate them for a good fit, consider what tasks will best suit them, and identify where further communication is needed.  Share your description on the online formto assist us in connecting volunteers with your program.  

How has inviting volunteers into the garden worked for you?  Do you have any tools or advice that have helped make the relationships successful?  

Field Trip Opportunity

School Groups are Welcome At

The Common Ground Fair

Free Admission for school groups on Friday


Plan your Group's Visit with the Interactive, Searchable Fair Schedule

Thousands of Maine students and chaperones visit the Fair for free every year. (Click for larger photo view.)

THe Maine Organic Farmers' and Gardeners' Assocation (MOFGA) is excited to offer lots of fun and educational things for school groups to do at the Fair.

As you may know, MOFGA always opens the gates of the Fair to school groups of any grade level, including homeschoolers*, and their teachers and chaperones for FREE on Friday.

The procedure for school groups is as follows:

  1. Follow the traffic signs to the school bus parking area in the North Parking Lot as you approach the fairgrounds.
  2. Enter through the dedicated School Group Entrance at the Rose (North) Gate.
  3. Sign in at the gate with an accurate head count (students, teachers, and chaperones) with the host at the School Group entrance.

That's it! There is no need to pre-register or order passes in advance.

Please be aware, however, that free admission for homeshool groups can only be accommodated between 9am and noon on Friday. When the School group entrance closes at noon, homeshool groups must enter through the main gate and pay admission.

Travel Stipends 

MOFGA recognizes how tight school field trip budgets are and appreciates the additional costs incurred by school groups traveling to the Fair. We are happy to be able to offer travel stipends to help defray these costs.

Stipends are available at a rate of $0.75 per mile for full size school buses, $0.40/mile for vans, and $0.25/mile for homeschool vehicles (maximum $100 reimbursement for homeschool groups)

Your school can claim travel reimbursement by completing and submitting this online form. The deadline for submissions is OCTOBER 10, 2013. 


The Common Ground Country Fair is one of the most popular fieldtrips for Maine's students. Annually, over 4,000 Maine school children made a school trip to Common Ground on Friday of the Fair.

Almost the entire Common Ground Country Fair is held outdoors in the open or under cover in a tent or barn. Students are sure to spend a lot of time outside and on their feet at the Fair moving from place to place.

All Fairgoers should be prepared for the elements to best enjoy a healthy and busy day at the Fair. Here are few items they suggest school children bring to the Fair:

• Water bottles. Good hydration is key to enjoying a long day outside. MOFGA has clean drinking water available on-site and special bottle filling faucets in numerous locations available to refill bottles. 

• A hat, light raincoat or wind shell, and a non-toxic sunscreen. Dressing in weather appropriate clothes and wearing comfortable footwear, such as sneakers, suitable for lots of walking are also advised. Late September in Maine can dish out a wide mix of weather. We want your students to be comfortable no matter what the skies deliver.

For more information about the Fair or travel stipends, or to request copies of the Fairbook, please call the MOFGA office at 207-568-4142 or email MOFGA.