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March 2017 Newsletter







Don't miss Maine School Garden Day
Say hello to our new Coordinator
Meet School Garden of the Month: RSU 22
Get in gear with March Garden Ideas
Try out creative project ideas
Spring into March with a GIVEAWAY!
Check out newsletter ideas shared with us

 
See details on how to enter below!

Don't miss these Featured Events
 

Maine School Garden Day

 This year's Maine School Garden Day will take place on Saturday, May 6th, at Falmouth High School from 8-4, a full day of classes, exhibits, and more! This is a K-12 educator training  workshop and all participants will receive certificates for contact hours or CEU's. The cost of the day is $25($35 after April 30) and includes a local foods lunch. Scholarships are available. Click here to register. Check out the event on Facebook.

 

Northeast Farm to School Institute

The Northeast Farm to School Institute is a unique year-long professional learning opportunity for twelve school teams from New England and New York. Our year-long Institute kicks off with a Summer Retreat held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT from June 27-29, 2017. Learn more here. 
Contact Renee Page from Maine Farm to School if you have any questions.
 

The 2nd Farm to Institution New England Summit

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE

Maine Farm to Institution wants to help Mainers attend! April 5-7, 2017 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Leominster, MA. Join more than 500 people from across New England and beyond working to change the local food system through the power of institutions.
If you would like to attend but find the registration fee and transportation a barrier, Maine Farm to Institution wants to help you get there! Through generous support from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, MEFTI has a limited number of registration scholarships (at the early bird rate - first come, first served) and is organizing carpooling to the event. Learn more about the summit at www.f2isummit.org
To learn more about MEFTI scholarships and to request your registration discount code (you need this before you register - do not use the scholarship link on the summit website) contact: Renee Page rpage@mcdph.org


From Sea & Farm to Plate

For more information on this workshop contact Stephanie Stambach at stephanie.stambach@maine.gov

Say Hello to Erika Verrier, our new MSGN Coordinator!
As a Maine native, she has enjoyed gardening all her life and now shares it with her two young children. Erika is a volunteer in her community and an advocate for education and healthy food choices. She feels that it is our civic duty to teach children to grow their own food and to appreciate where it comes from. With a passion for the outdoors, she achieved her BS in Ecology at Unity College and immediately went to work initiating Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in a large commercial hydroponic greenhouse here in Maine.  Her leadership and experience in IPM focused holistically from seed to fruit and allowed her the opportunity to learn and network with leading plant pathologists throughout the US. She advocated for reduce risk pesticides and alternative control methods. Her focus on risk mitigation and preventative methods has allowed her to develop a passion for biological controls and the use of beneficial insects. She hopes to share this experience with the educational gardens throughout Maine to promote a safe, sustainable and fun way to help children overcome challenges in their garden. Feel free to say hello or contact her anytime for help at info@msgn.org

School Garden of the Month - RSU 22

The snow is melting and soon students across Maine will be digging into garden preparation and sowing the seeds for another fruitful gardening experience. School Garden of the month, District RSU 22 in Hamden, Newburgh, Winterport, and Frankfort has inspired us with these pictures of last year’s harvest. The colorful bounty makes us crave the season ahead! With a robust garden program fueled by supportive administration, all of the students among the campuses in RSU 22 have lots to look forward to!
Soon they’ll hear the buzzing of bees from their 3 hive apiary and watch the blossoms form on the apple trees in the orchard on their main campus. Among their school campuses they have at least 4 raised beds devoted to a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. In addition, a 3 season hoop house produces sweet potatoes, green peppers and tomatoes. Since establishment in 2010, the garden program has continued to thrive and support the curriculum of all district students in grades Pre –K through 12. Every student is given the opportunity to help the garden or beekeeping program. The success of their robust program is due to the talents of Brittany Layman the Health and Wellness Coordinator, “The Bee Whisperer”, and community volunteers. Perhaps one of the things they are most thankful for is the driving force of the principals and school board who stand behind the program as a resource for their alternative education program. Support like this is essential to their recent success in expanding the program to their 2nd elementary school. Students here help weed, plant and water during recess and as a result the experience feeds them in countless ways. Brittany Layman shared, “It was amazing to watch the excitement in their eyes when they learned there would be veggies available to them when they came back to school in the fall.”  The veggies at this school have been added to the summer lunch program that serves 50-60 students per day with free lunch. In addition, the vegetables have supported community events, the honey is a source of income, and the overall program has been a topic for presentations in the agricultural education community in Maine. RSU 22 is exemplary in the impact of their school gardens and the unification as a district in their approach to supporting the program. We here at MSGN look forward to supporting them in another successful season as we March into Spring! 

Keep up with all the exciting projects at RSU 22! Check out their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/RSU22garden/

 

March Garden Ideas:

Clean and sharpen your tools. Check your inventory of tools, supplies and seeds. Be sure to order anything that you may have overlooked.

 

Have students create garden journals to record their observations and note the dates of first blooms and harvests.

 

Organize a work day for April to get the garden prepped. Community members can help build or fix raised beds, remove plant debris and turn soil. Plant peas! Make garden signs.



 

Also organize a work day in May for adding soil amendments and planting.

 

Start lettuce and brassica seedlings between the middle and end of the month, depending on your planting zone.

 

Prune your perennials.

 

Celebrate Maine Maple Sunday.

 

Participate in ReadME Agriculture. Click here for details.

 

Register here to attend workshops at Maine School Garden Day. Check out the event on Facebook.

 Check out our SCHOOL GARDEN CALENDAR to learn more about what this month looks like in the garden! For more information, try out these awesome resources: MOFGA's Planting Calendar, Fedco's Veggie Chart, and Johnny's Planting Calculator and Succession Planting Template.

Cool Project!

Carton 2 Garden Contest

Win up to $5000! Sponsored by Evergreen Packaging and KidsGardening.org, public and private schools can get started by collecting 100 empty cartons from your home, community, or cafeteria. Contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for re-purposed milk and juice cartons. Entries are due April 12. Visit their website for more information and to request a free entry kit!

What’s most important? Tell us! Enter to win our
“Most Important” Giveaway
As we March into Spring here at MSGN, we want to know what’s “most important” to the success of your garden each month of the year!  Click the icon below to fill out the google form and earn chances to win seeds and gear from Johnny's Selected Seeds!

 
Network Newsletter Ideas

We love hearing from you! Here is some info we wish to pass along, enjoy!



Thinking of growing tomatoes this season? Here may be some inspiration for you! Jess Miller emailed to share a blog post you might like. It’s a detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on 15 health benefits of tomatoes according to science, and includes 8 delicious tomato recipes. Here is the link to the blog post: https://www.jenreviews.com/tomatoes/



Miss VanAllen, a mentor for a group of middle school students who are planning a garden project found some fantastic resources on our website. The kids wanted to suggest and share an additional resource that has some excellent info on earthworms and soil: www.improvenet.com/a/beginners-guide-to-earthworms



Kat Coriell, our own MSGN board member, shared an article from Garden Club Federation of Maine (http://www.mainegardenclubs.org/) that is well suited for a student project. The Rusty-patched Bumble Bee has been added to the endangered species list, the first time a bumble bee has been given this designation. The bee is also on Maine's list of endangered species as noted by the Maine Bumble Bee Atlas Project which is being run as a partnership with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the University of Maine at Orono and Farmington. The demise of the bee has been linked to the use of farm pesticides, household herbicides, human development, disease and climate change. To see a captivating video on the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee, click this link to the video "A Ghost in the Making:  Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee" by Clayton Bolt.
 

IDEAS FOR THE 
NEWSLETTER?


Do you have a new project you'd like to promote in your school garden? Are there things you'd like for us to share with you? Let us know!

UPCOMING EVENTS
 

March 20-24: Read ME Agriculture
READERS STILL NEEDED: Click here for more info.
 
 
July 31 - August 4: Summer Teacher's Institute (Farmington)


VIew our EVENTS CALENDAR here.

View MOFGA's events calendar here.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Maine Ag in the Classroom (MAITC) Grant Program - Request For Applications Available Now: Click here for more information.


For more grant opportunities, visit www.msgn.org/grants

 

LOCAL GRANTS
The Flannel Shirt Fund – June 1, October 1, February 1 ($400 to $1200)
RetreeUS – orchards for schools, ongoing
New England Grassroots Environment Fund –Seed grants ($250-$1000): ongoing, “Grow” Grants ($1000-$3000): March 15 & September 15

NATIONAL GRANTS
Digital Wish Grants – 15th of every month, submit a lesson plan to win
Fruit Tree 101 – orchards for schools, ongoing
Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools – get a salad bar for your school, ongoing
Whole Kids Foundation Grants - School Garden grant, Extended Learning grant, Honey Bee grants and more!
 

A HUGE thank you to our SPONSORS!









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