December 2003 Newsletter

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First Maine School Garden Network Workshop
Oct. 18, 2003 Eastern Maine Community College

Mary Bird, University of Maine College of Education and Human Development, enthusiastically welcomed almost 60 people to “Let’s Get Growing,” the first MSGN workshop.

Five workshops were offered: Jon Thurston & Neil Lash reported on their very successful Heirloom Seed Project. Mary Bird demonstrated enriching curriculum by creating boxes of materials. The co-author of Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils, Elizabeth Patten, explored the real costs of our food system. A lively discussion of the proposal for including a school garden project into developing school curriculum was led by Heather Albert-Knopp, the Community Coordinator for Healthy Acadia, Dustin Eirdosh, College of the Atlantic, and Steve West of Connors School.

Laura Newman, Education & Outreach Coordinator for Portland Trails, documented the progress of the Trails group . The workshop then moved to The United Technology Center where Claire Ackroyd, Environmental Horticulture Instructor, introduced the new horticulture program that the Center is offering and concluded with a tour of the garden and greenhouse.

Keep posted! The Second Maine School Garden Network Workshop is scheduled for March 13 at the MOFGA Education Center in Unity.

Cascade Brook School, Farmington

“I started the Cascade Brook School Garden five years ago after I read the book Seedfolks (ISBN 0064472078 paperback) by Paul Fleischman, which was on the Maine Student Book Award List that year. I read it aloud to my sixth-grade library classes. We were inspired to build raised beds in the front of our school and to research and plant the vegetables and flowers that were described in the book. We raise our own seedlings and plant in late spring. In the summer, we have donated food to our local food closet and our school cafeteria has served salad and pumpkin cookies from our produce. We were the first school to exhibit farm produce at the Farmington Fair. This spring, we built a small greenhouse with partial funding from our local Wal-Mart. Although unheated, the greenhouse will extend our season and provide us with a selection of plants to observe. We have offered ‘Cooking from the Garden’ classes as part of the school’s after-school program. The home-made pasta and tomato sauce were delicious! It has been a great learning experience for all of us.”

Trish Flint
Cascade Brook School
162 Learning Lane
Farmington, ME 04938

Greetings Fellow Gardeners!

“I am the Occupational Therapist at the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, on Mackworth Island, Falmouth Maine. Last Spring I facilitated the planting of a garden here, together with students in upper elementary. A small plot of land was tilled, cleared of stones, rocks and roots, leveled and topped with compost from the compost bin of recycled papers we had made. We planted pumpkin, gourd and flowers from seed, and eagerly awaited fall harvest.

We have grown our vision for a garden; I have curricular and administrative support and am working with a classroom teacher and the art teacher to develop ideas …As a community, we are beginning to see possibilities. I am hoping to hear some of your stories: Some of you are’garden facilitators’, some are reporters, some have other titles and roles for involvement with children and gardening. PLEASE, share the resources you know, the successes you’ve had, suggestions for what you would avoid in hindsight (hindsight IS “20/20” and I don’t have it yet!!)

Do you have photos you could send us of different stages of your garden and the kids’ involvement? I am working HARD to develop a sense of anticipation with this particular group of students … the more they can SEE, the more likely they are to be interested…. Especially if there are funny moments caught on camera …. even better if these ‘funny’ moments double as relevant educational, although I will be quite happy to have simply a fun moment..

I would love to collaborate. Do you have students who want to learn some sign language and share gardening tips with our students? Would you be interested in doing some ATM/distance learning events with your students and our students? Third to sixth grade would be the best ‘fit’ for the group I see here…

Today WE went to a mini presentation from Chris Mayer, local woodchuck authority from USM…. I will have pictures of her traps, and other’gear’…

Thank you in advance for any words of wisdom and encouragement.”

Tara Arala
 Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, 
Mackworth Island, 
Falmouth, ME 04105

Ronald Adams, Director, Gorham School Nutrition (207 222-1316) is to be congratulated on his very successful Harvest Lunch, September 25, which he arranged for more than 900 children in LITTLE FALLS SIXTH GRADE, NARRAGANSETT ELEMENTARY, WHITE ROCK ELEMENTARY and VILLAGE ELEMENTARY. The menu featured locally produced veggies and meat and was enthusiastically received!

Ed Lindsey, an innovative Science teacher at Corinth Central High School not only has started a school garden this year, but his applied Chemistry students have started a long term project to find the cause for the decline in salmon migration in the Kenduskeag Stream. Central High was one of ten high schools in Maine to receive funding as part of the Great Maine Schools project.

John Peckenham, a Research Scientist with the Mitchell Center at the University of Maine commented, “I wish all Science teachers could get their students as excited for these kinds of projects.” Student, Renee Megquier said, “when you are in the classroom you wonder when the bell will ring, but when you are in the field it’s do we have to leave?” Researcher and student have both enthusiastically endorsed a hands-on program designed to implement changes and encourage new programs. Congratulations, Ed!

Community Develops Food Self Reliance

The Bowdoinham Community Food Project is a partnership between UMCE and Friends of the Bowdoinham Public Library. It is funded by a $22,000, three year USDA grant to create a model community approach for food self-reliance in a rural, agricultural town.

The approach includes using community and school education programs to create innovative linkages to support locally grown foods. During the Spring of 2002, two Extension educators trained ten teachers to use the Food, Land and People (FLP) curriculum. A teacher “toolbox” was created to support teaching this curriculum. The elementary school cooking club, Food Freaks, is learning about local and seasonal foods, and the 10-15 student members prepare these foods each Wednesday morning for school lunch. The Food Freaks have also held five community suppers featuring locally grown foods. The youth garden has been expanded and a greenhouse was erected this Spring. In 2002 the children grew enough spinach, salad greens, and garlic to sell at the Bowdoinham Farmers’ Market. Grant funds enabled the purchase of road signage and the production of bulk mailings, magnets and posters to publicize the farmers’ market. The project also purchased 47 new books for the public library on gardening, raising goats, raising pigs, preserving foods, small fruit production and other food self-reliance subjects. Kathleen Savoie

Cultivating Community, the Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Vermont newsletter suggests a free toolkit, “Where Does Your Food Come From?. Recipes for Communicating Effectively about American Agriculture” that includes terms, messages and tactics that best resonate with American consumers and can effectively influence their buying habits. It is produced by Food Routes Network, an organization that aims to promote sustainable agriculture at both the national and local levels through public education, marketing research, tool development and policy initiatives. The web site is, or contact Food Routes at P.O. Box 443, Millheim, PA 16854, (814)349-6000 to request a copy.


New Grant: Gardens for Schools from VIVA!

VIVA!, a supplier of herb and vegetable plants available in Home Depot stores nationwide, announces its VIVA! Garden for Schools Program. Its goal is to introduce children to gardening, improve nutrition and health through horticulture, and open the door to the great experiences that arise when kids interact with nature. Applications for both the VIVA! School Garden Contest and VIVA! Plant Donation Program are currently available. Go to to find out more.

Room to Grow: Juliana Greenhouse Grant

The National Gardening Association and Juliana, a manufacturer of hobby greenhouses, will award greenhouses and other indoor growing equipment and materials to 50 school and community organizations across the United States. Applicants must have established gardens, propose how they will actively engage youngsters in a greenhouse environment, and set clear teaching and learning goals. Go to to learn more and download an application.

Landscapes for Learning Award

Fine Gardening magazine and the National Gardening Association are pleased to announce the second annual Landscapes for Learning Awards for youth gardens. Applicants should demonstrate a child-centered plan in which youngsters are engaged in the design process. Ten winning programs will receive a host of gardening resources and a $250 gift certificate to the Gardening with Kids Store. Application deadline is March 1, 2004. To learn more and download an application, go to


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CONTACT NGA: Phone: 888-538-7476 Sales: 800-538-7476, ext. 143 Web site: 2003 National Gardening Association
 1100 Dorset Street
South Burlington, VT 05403

National Garden Clubs, Inc.
Bangor Garden Club- Susan Poole
Bangor Garden Club Youth Chairman & member of the
Keep Bangor Beautiful Education Committee
Box 847, Holden, ME 04429

Make a Difference in Your Community

# 76 High School Distinguished Service Project

is open to all High School Students grades 9-12 for an outstanding civic project making a significant improvement for public benefit, e.g. environment, conservation, landscape, horticulture, recycling, horticulture therapy, others.

RULES: Years: January 1 to December 31, 2003 or January 1, 2004 to December 2004.
Sponsorship: Must be sponsored by a National Garden clubs, Inc. affiliate member.

* Apply to the Bangor Garden Club for sponsorship.

Awards: A $1000 scholarship may be awarded to the national winner and $500 scholarship may be awarded to the second place winner. If the winner is an underclassman the scholarship monies will be held without interest accrual until such time as the student enters college; and at the appropriate time will be forwarded to the college Financial Aid Officer.

Deadlines and Procedure:

Deadline: 2003 – November 1; 2004 deadline – not announced yet.
Scale of points:
Presentation – 5 (neat, concise, includes all information)

Achievement – 65 scope of project; need and fulfillment; benefit; accomplishment; comprehensiveness of work; activities to attain goals; evaluation of goals reached; educational prior planning; very brief history; financial report; other. Participation -15: Involvement of community, government agencies, professionals, youth, residents of facilities, others.

Record or Documentation -15: Supporting data as applicable (this does NOT mean that you need to have each and every item listed): clear, well-labeled and neatly attached before and after photographs, landlandscape plan, financial report, letters of appreciation, community awards/recognition, newspaper articles, radio and/or TV scripts, etc.

Total Points: 100

Requirements for a Book of Evidence: (also read points list above)

Label on outside cover: number and name of NGC award, category, Name of entrant, address, telephone, email (if available) and Name of sponsoring club, city, and state.

Presentation: not to exceed 6 pages, front and back, for a maximum of 12 surfaces; pages may be placed in top loading sheet protectors. Material must be attached to pages. Use 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper and enclose in report cover or 2-pocket folder; no scrapbooks or oversized books.

Top of first page to include Number and Name of NGC Award (#76 High School Distinguished Service Project) and the above noted personal identification and NGC Garden Club sponsor information.

Written text: Concise. Covers all requirements in award/contest description.

Documentation record: Include pertinent copies of project plan and purpose, photographs (before and after), drawings, materials lists, costs, donations (can be materials, time, labor). It is to the entrant’s benefit if there is included some kind of public and/or civic recognition, for example: a newspaper or letter from some public authority.