MSGN Newsletter February 2003

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Maine School Garden Network Projects, Contests, Contacts Why a Network?

“A network is nonhierarchical. It is a web of connections among equals. What holds it together is not force, obligation, material incentive, or social contract but SHARED VALUES and the understanding that some tasks can be accomplished together that could never be accomplished separately. One of the important purposes of a network is simply to remind its members that they are not alone”
Beyond Limits, Meadows, Meadows & Randers

School District Wide Purchases

We offer generous discounts on district-≠wide purchases. Our special program includes matching your state’s educational standards to our gardening curriculum. We also provide the necessary indoor and outdoor classroom equipment and offer professional development resources to ensure your continued success. for more information, call Mitchell Kurker, Gardening with Kids, Summer’03 800-536-7476 x 120

Rodale Organic School Garden Contest

The Rodale Institute has launched its 4th annual national Organic School Garden Contest, open to K-12 schools and giving awards and cash prizes of $1000 (1 st. ) $500 (2nd.) & $250 (3rd.). “The goal is to help kids make better choices for themselves by exploring the connections between food & health, in a fun, hands-on and ultimately thought provoking way,” says Florence Rodale. “One way we achieve this is by encouraging children nationwide to show us how their organic school garden has impacted their nutrition, health and daily lives in general. We want to become partners in education with parents and teachers,” she says.

In addition to the contest, provides a wide range of fun and educational resources in its seasonal issues and fresh monthly uploads. In late winter 2003, will launch a new online educational course based on The Rodale Institute’s mission of “Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People (R).” This program will allow educators to learn, then build, their own lesson plans online within a given field. Well researched and stimulating instructive activities to use inside and outside the classroom will be offered. Schools interested in entering the Organic School Garden Contest can download entry forms and full details at Entries must be received by October 31, 2003.

Veggies by the Ton!

Troy Howard’s greenhouse is fully operational–growing greens, onions, radishes, carrots and tomatoes and have plans for more for MSAD 34’s kitchen! They have also been asked to raise salad greens for the Governorís mid February conference in Augusta.

Over 4000 pounds of garden products have been raised in the gardens in the 2002-2003 school year so far, enabling the schools to make regular donations to the Stone Soup Kitchen in Belfast and the Northport Food Pantry.

Students have attended a seed saving conference at MOFGA and started three companies: seed saving , composting and fancy markets They are also working on a grant for a possible purchase of a tractor and are currently discussing a possible partnership with Kelmscott Farm in Lincolnville.

Don White, agric. coordinator 338-3320

United Technology Center

UTC is offering a number of interesting Horticulture classes through its Adult Education Program for winter and spring, 2003. These include Home Landscape Design, Professional Horticulture Practices (for people interested in becoming certified through the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association), and Organic Gardening.

MOFGA’s one evening Introduction to home Organic Gardening course will be offered on April 2nd. A second Greenhouse Construction class will be scheduled for this coming year.

Claire Ackroyd,

Lady Beetles to the Rescue!

Asa Adams School Greenhouse Using resident insect or mite pests and their predators as teachers, Dr. Colin Stewart & Ms. Mary Bellandese found a memorable and fun way to help elementary school children understand the importance of careful observation as a basis for scientific research.

During one of the regular inspections of the greenhouse for disease or pest problems, a large populations of mealy bugs on two of the plants. was noticed. Having confirmed the identification Dr. Stewart suggested purchasing lady beetles, “mealybug destroyers” to control the pests. Using live insects, he explained to the third grade class how some insects can help gardeners and farmers by eating pest species.

A hands-on science lesson was developed. Mealybugs and lady beetles were put in petri dishes for the children to observe. Checking the dishes, with and without a magnifying glass, the class saw a predator prey relationship in action as the lady beetles ate the mealy bugs.

They described the results and made predictions on how long it would take the lady beetles to eat all the mealy bugs.

A small prize went to the child who made the closest prediction, and all the class was given a picture of a lady beetle to color, a sheet on how insects grow and develop,and a handout to take home describing ways to reduce pesticide use. A few months later, the lady beetles (which had been released in the greenhouse) had laid eggs and the resulting larvae were eating mealy bug eggs. This discovery provided an impromptu follow-up to reinforce the first lesson. The larvae are currently being observed for growth and metamorphosis. Colin D. Stewart, PhD,

Coming soon! MVHS 2003 Seed catalog!

This year’s garlic is safely under two feet of snow. It always seems odd to have to plant out all the garlic every year! The kids are busy cataloging this year’s grow outs and organizing the freezer containing seeds for long term storage. We are about to publish this year’s catalog which should be out in two weeks. Neil Lash & Jon Thurston: †Medomak Valley HS

Apples & May Day Celebration

In the next month my students and I will be collecting scion wood from approximately fifteen apple trees which John Bunker and I found with the help of some local “guides” and an enthusiastic apprentice of John’s. Some of the varieties we found may not be named varieties which means that if they take in our orchard after we graft them onto various root stocks in May, we’ll be able to name them ourselves! We will also be taking some scion wood from older varieties like Wealthy, Banana, Ben Davis, and many others. Our goal is to plant 25 grafted rootstocks this Spring.

Soon we will begin planning for our annual Mayday celebration at which my horticulture students demonstrate some of the skills they have learned up to that point. Mayday also features a maypole dance and other activities in which the entire school population along with community members take part. More info: Pincince, John Islesboro Central School, Islesboro, ME 04848, 734-2251,

New Contacts:

Beal, Amanda PROP. 510 Cumberland Ave., Portland, ME 04101 1-800-698-4959

Eli Rogosa Kaufman
Sustainable Schools:
– School Composting
– K-12 Interdiciplinary Gardening Projects
– Seed Saving and Breed Your Own Vegetables
52 Mayflower Hill Dr., Waterville, ME 04901 872-9093

Spring 2003 Publication!
Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils

An exciting new hands-on resource for parents, teachers, and all those interested in helping children understand the vital connection between a healthy soil and healthy food.

The manual, which grew out of a successful two year pilot program funded by the USDA., was developed by two Mainers: Elizabeth Patten, a licensed dietitian, & Kathy Lyons, an environmental educator.

The authors use simple concepts and fun activities to enhance existing curricula through methods that include, writing, art, scientific investigation, music and puppetry.

Tilbury House, Publishers, 800-582-1899,

Seeds, Seeds, Seeds; Seeds!

Your school is just in the planning stages of a school garden & you are wondering how to pay for seeds? Johnny’s Seeds of Albion, Maine is willing to help! Write up your request on school stationery, outline the program, stating hoped for results size of the garden, and how it can be managed. Be generic in your request for seeds. ie, squash not a particular one! Barbara Luce, media coordinator, 437-9294

Sowing Seeds for Success

Open this fall, Old Town’s new elementary school offers fertile ground for a crop of K-6 students and a new sustainable gardening project. After selecting an appropriate site with Principal Jeanna Tuell, veteran gardeners Barbara Stevens, ( 2nd grade) and Susan Linscott, (8th grade science) will plan a service & mentoring project to team Leonard Middle students with primary children as they plan, plant, and care for a vegetable garden. On going construction limits on-site work, but the after school club will do preparatory activities. By fall, with help from UM education & sustainable agriculture students & community volunteers, the school will have plans set for the garden to play an important part in the curriculum & community

You Are What You Eat Curriculum

At MOFGA’s Spring Growth in 2002, a team of UM graduate students presented a draft of “You Are What You Eat.” a curriculum, based on the connections between sustainable agriculture and nutrition. Susan Linscott, (8th. grade science) is revising a more teacher-friendly format with appropriate assessments in line with Maine Learning Results for release this spring. Mary Bird, UM College Education/Edith Patch Center, 581-2434