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Dear friends of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom,

This Annual Report summarizes the activities of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. (MAC) for the calendar year January 1, through December 31, 2017 and provides previews for the year ahead.

The mission of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is to promote agricultural literacy among educators and to provide them with the skills and support to integrate agriculture into their classrooms. All programs reinforce this mission.

This was a year to capitalize on the efforts and talents of our all-volunteer Board of Directors. As always, we reviewed our history, evaluated successful past programs, considered our current offerings, and determined what things we are doing well and how we can improve.

  •  We developed important new resources, and provided quality educational programs for teachers. New lessons were written by our Education Committee and volunteer Educators then aligned with the Curriculum Standards to make it easier for teachers to integrate agriculture into their classroom programs. These free materials are posted on our website for easy teacher access.

  •  MAC received 23 Mini-Grant proposals in 2017. Fifteen of these received funding for a total of $5,422.00.Projects were as small as a scale to aid the student farmstand and as large as an indoor greenhouse for the classroom. Approximately 4,777 students could participate or view these agricultural projects within their school.A generous grant from the Massachusetts State Grange helped to make this possible. All applicants whose projects were not accepted received letters with suggestions for ways to improve their application and an invitation to reapply. Because some of the Mini-Grant applications were written by middle or high school students, we offered feedback about the quality of their proposal to enhance their knowledge of grant writing.

  • MAC researched and was awarded several grants to be completed in 2017.

  • MAC is an approved provider of Professional Development Points from the Department of Education. We awarded PDPs to all educators who requested them after attending our workshops.

​We are grateful to all the donors and volunteers who supported our educational efforts throughout the year. Grants from the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, and the Massachusetts State Grange funded the development of new resources and programs in 2017.  MAC’s Board of Directors continued their oversight of program development, while offering advice and assistance. Some members presented workshops. Others added their expertise to conferences, workshops and daily operations. We are thankful to each member for all they contributed during 2017.

Members of  MAC attended conferences and events across the state sharing mutual agricultural education goals with new audiences and planning for future collaborations. This effort reiterates the mission of MAC and continues to expand our message throughout Massachusetts.

A special thank you is extended to Joan Monaco and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation for bookkeeping support and meeting space during the year.

Since Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is a small, non-profit organization, we encourage board members, volunteers, farm hosts, teacher educators and the donors who have contributed to MAC in so many ways to continue to offer their support. Both annual giving and the sharing of your knowledge and experience is tremendously important to us. We could not maintain our programs without this kind of assistance.

Roberta M. Oles, President, MAC Board of Directors

 Program Overview:
Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. (MAC) operates under the guidance of a volunteer Board of Directors representing Massachusetts’ agricultural commodities, associations and state and federal agencies involved in agriculture education and awareness. Our 2017 programs included:

Mini-Grant Program:

MAC’s Mini-Grant program is now in its twenty-third year. Thanks again to the Massachusetts State Grange Roots Initiative for providing these grants. Since 1994, MAC has awarded more than $230,000.00 to 335 agricultural projects planned and carried out by educators across the state of Massachusetts. A MAC or Grange member may be available as a liaison to give off-site support to each project.

April 2017                                                                                                              September 2017

Hooks Elementary School, Chelsea                        $204.00                                   Roland Green School, Mansfield                             $645.00

P.E. Bowe School, Chicopee                                     $150.00                                   Capuano Center/Early Childhood Ed, Somerville  $300.00

Greater Lowell Tech. High School, Tyngsboro      $264.00                                   Mayo School, Holden                                                 $132.00

Robinson Elementary School, Mansfield               $224.00                                   Glover School, Milton                                                $711.00

Charlton Middle School, Charlton                          $160.00                                   Westfield High School, Westfield                              $535.00

Cunningham Elementary School, Milton              $315.00                                    NEARI School, Holyoke                                              $600.00

Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter, Franklin      $234.00                                  Monson High School, Monson                                  $720.00

Lt. Peter M. Hansen School, Canton                       $228.00

                                                                                                                                     Total Expenditures for 2017                              $5,422.00

Workshops for Teachers on the Farm:

Since 1996, MAC has offered more than 254 workshops on farms across the state bringing on-farm education experiences to more than 3,391 educators. Each session provides an in-depth educational overview of one aspect of agriculture with related hands-on activities for teachers to take back to their classrooms. Each workshop also includes a farm tour and the opportunity to meet the farmer and learn about the work that goes on at that farm. This year was one of evaluation and brainstorming ways to make the workshops even more accessible to teachers.  We added Saturday workshops as well as summer offerings to make these educational events more convenient for educators.  Workshop funding is provided through grants from the Massachusetts State Grange, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board.

 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar:

MAC collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to produce the 2017 “Celebrating the Seasons of Massachusetts Agriculture” calendar. The calendar is a daily reminder of Massachusetts agriculture for teachers, students, legislators and the general public. Photos are selected from contest submissions to MDAR.  MAC provides a ”Fun Fact” about agriculture and a “Teaching Tip” for each month. Sponsors from agricultural organizations help defray production costs. A calendar was sent to every state legislator, winning photographer, sponsors of individual pages, and photographed farms.  Calendars can be ordered through the MAC website at and are available at many events across the state.

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Web Site:

Colorful graphics and more user friendly features were added to the website. Teachers can find how-to manuals for the school garden, free lessons on agricultural topics, and continuing education workshop information. Visitors to the website can register for programs on-line, purchase calendars and books, or make a donation. Go to to find resources and opportunities.

Agriculture Lessons Connected to the Curriculum Standards:

MAC has been working for more than 30 years to provide resources and training for teachers to support classroom learning using agricultural examples. Free, downloadable lessons and manuals are connected to the curriculum standards for all grades.  Garden-based lessons and manuals cover a variety of topics for educators using the school garden as a teaching tool. Prior to being posted on MAC’s website, lessons are reviewed by teachers to ensure ease of use and pertinence of subject matter. Many of these lessons and the teacher review days are supported by grants from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board.

Board of Directors
Russell Anderson Teacher; STEM Educator
Rita Brennan-Olson The Mass Partnership for Food Safety Education

Marjorie Cooper Worcester County Conservation
Marian Hazzard Educator and School Gardener
Patricia May Farmer and Educator
Patricia Morena Marketing Specialist
Kate O’Brien Educator; Special Needs Coord., Education Committee
Roberta Oles Educator
Kenneth Oles Educator, MA Beekeepers
Christopher Szkutak Educator, Education Committee

Amber Vaill, Massachusetts State Grange Representative
Jim Alicata Fitchburg State University
Holly Alperin MA Dept. of Ed.
Diane Baedeker-Petit USDA Natural Resources Cons.
Robert Cote Educator
Doug Gillespie Executive Director. MA Farm Bureau Fed.
Mary Jordan MA Dept. of Ag. Resources
Rick LeBlanc MA Dept. of Ag. Resources
Honorary - Members at Large
Ed Bourgeois Pioneer Valley Sheep Breeders
Henry Hicks Member at Large
Mary McCaffrey Cape Cod Cranberry Growers
James Munger Educator-Bristol County Farm Bureau

Cynthia Jensen Science Educator
June Johnson Member at Large

With sadness, we remember our friend and founding board member, Janet Christensen, who passed away this year. Her dedication to agricultural education was demonstrated in her many years as a volunteer and advocate of MAC and Farmer’s Markets around the state.

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