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MAC Mini-Grant Winners 2005

First Cycle   (April 2005)

Grant 1: Teaching Garden

The name of the project is the Teaching Garden and it is located at Bramble Hill Farm, in Amherst. Your funding contribution would be greatly appreciated. The year 2005 will be the third year for this expanding program. This year besides the Common School, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment will also benefit from this educational endeavor. While the garden curriculum is geared towards the 3-5 year old child, the garden provides many challenges and learning opportunities that relate to the curriculum framework for elementary school students. The program is focused on creating a positive leaning experience growing healthy, flavorful foods.

Contact:    Hans Leo - Bramble Hill Farm - 593 South Pleasant Street - Amherst, MA 01002

Project Duration: Project runs: March 2005 through October 2005

Mini-Grant Award: $800


Grant 2    Waltham Field "Farms Make Food" Project

To provide urban day campers aged six to nine from low-income households to make multiple, repeated visits throughout the summer to our working farm for hands-on learning about where food comes from and how it is grown. An intern and staff will provide activities from starting seeds in the greenhouse to working with our farmer in the fields helping with the crops. Additionally, a quarter-acre Learning Field is the setting for child-friendly planting such as Native American “Three Sisters” crops, A Pizza Garden and other crops to harvest. The urban campers will visit repeatedly but the Farms Make Food Learning Field will also be a resource for many other visiting children’s groups throughout the season.

Contact: Marla Rhodes, Development Manager Community Farms Outreach 240 Beaver Street Waltham, MA 02452

Project Duration:   Spring 2005 (May and June)

Mini-Grant Award: $800


Grant 3     Creation of A Natural Product Extraction Laboratory

I am seeking grant money for curriculum enrichment relating to the creation of a natural products extraction laboratory to be used for extraction of natural oils from plants. At first these extractions will be used for the scenting of candles and vinegars for fund-raising purposes as well as to introduce business plan development to the students by way of making and selling an assortment of different agricultural based products. I also have students interested in using such equipment for their research projects and specifically to their use in anti-microbial, anti-fungal and other assorted medicinal project descriptions

Contact:   Steven Wilkins, Earth Science Department -- Lexington High School -- 251 Waltham Street - Lexington, MA 02173

Project Duration:  Starting in 2005 school year and continuing into future years.

Mini-Grant Award: $800 


Grant 4.    Food Garden in the Classroom

The Warren-Prescott School’s Food Garden in the Classroom program is designed to study the interplay of nature and insects up-close in a dedicated science classroom setting, study and record which nutrients allow for stronger, healthier plant growth, study and record the interaction between insects (both beneficial and detrimental) and plants, and grow their own food (herbs, vegetables, fruits). Students will grow their own container or window-box garden at home over the summer vacation. Seeds, mini-guides and notebooks will be provided for summer observations. A new unit in September will allow for sharing summer observations and increase student’s understanding of how city-dwellers can actively participate in the food cycle.
Contact:   Tina Champagne, Science Teacher and Christine Amisano, Parent, School Site Co-Chair and Domenica Amara, Ph.D., Principal, Warren-Prescott School, 50 School Street, (Charlestown) Boston, MA 02129

Project Duration:   Spring 2005 through Spring 2006

Mini-Grant Award: $800


Grant 5      "2005 Taste Your Fruits and Vegetables: A Collaboration with the Orchard Gardens Pilot School"

In 2005, the Food Project will begin a new, multi-year partnership with the Orchard Gardens Pilot School by providing academic enrichment classes for kindergarten and first grade students. We hope to add two classes to the program each year over four years, eventually reaching students in all grades K-8. In Year 1, the collaboration will center on “taste Your Fruits and Vegetables” by providing classrooms with boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables from The Food Project farms four times throughout the year. The box will include a letter from the farmer who grew the vegetable; Math Science, Art, English and Social Studies activities to do with the produce; and suggestions for simple ways to prepare and eat the various items in the box. To connect with the farm where the food is grown, kindergarten students will take a trip to The Food Project’s Roxbury gardens, and first grade students will visit the Food Projects’s Lincoln farm.

Contact: Rececca Benefiel, Manager of Foundation Relations, The Food Project P.O. Box 705 Lincoln, Massachusetts 01773

Project Duration: June 2005 through March 2006.

Mini-Grant Award: $800


2nd Cycle (September 2005)


Grant 1: Field Trip to Red Fire Farm, Granby, MA

A trip to a local farm reinforces units that our second graders do in social studies and studies and science. In our social studies curriculum, the first section is an economics unit that focuses on consumers and producers using bananas and peanuts to show the human interdependence it takes for these foods to reach our markets. We like to contrast this with a local farm that does not take as much manpower and resources, like fuel, to get food to us.

In science, we are learning about seasons and going to the farm lets our students harvest crops themselves. We will also use a scavenger hunt from a MAC workshop held at Red Fire Farm that has bee modified for our level.
Even though we live in a small town, most of our students do not have any farm experiences. This field trip allows the children to “pick their own”, as well as interact with the farmers who have grown the food they are snacking on. While these students are too young to understand some of the larger consumer/producer issues, they do understand that locally grown food is easy to get and tastes great.

Contact: Marnie Henneman, Swift River Elementary School, 57 State Street, Belchertown, MA 01007

Project Duration: October 2005

Mini-Grant Award: $525


Grant 2: Gardening the Community

Gardening the Community (GtC) is a social justice project of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) of Massachusetts that focuses on city youth and local food production. It is a project situated in a low-income neighborhood in Springfield and employs 15 youth each year to learn to plant and care for vegetables and fruits on two city lots. The young people learn about and contribute to agriculture, local food, the environment, and their community. The project’s yearly budget is supported by individuals and several small grants - but some of the infrastructure of the program is not covered by the donated money. We are asking for money from Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom to cover the construction of a garden shed on our land to hold materials, supplies, and tools for our program. Our current, donated closet is small and easily broken into - we have had two break-ins this year which have prevented our using the structure at all.

Contact: Kristin Brennan, Gardening the Community Fundraiser, 127 Marlborough Street, Springfield, MA 01109

Project Duration: Fall 2005 into the future

Mini-Grant Award: $1,000


Grant 3: Third Grade Garden Project

The third grade garden project will create a permanent raised-bed intensive garden at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod, for the benefit of all future third grade classes. A comprehensive study of farming is a vital element of our third grade curriculum at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod. Agricultural themes run through science and language arts classes. Students learn about soils, stages of plant growth, parts of the plant, and the interrelationship of human beings, crops and animals. Experiential learning is a vital aspect of our program. In past years, we have had to arrange to do our gardening work off-site. This has meant that children have had infrequent contact with the growing plants. We would like to bring our gardening on site so that children can see every phase of plant growth and can experience the full range of work involved in gardening. We plan to build ten raised beds with wooden sides along this fence and to fill these beds with a mix of compost and soil. Each bed will be 12 feet long and three feet wide. Third grade students will provide most of the labor for this project. The garden will be used by each third grade class for many years to come.

Contact: Kim Allsuo, 3rd Grade Teacher, Waldorf School of Cape Cod, 85 Cotuit Road, Bourne, MA 02532

Project Duration: September 2005 through September 2006.

Mini-Grant Award: $850


Grant 4: Where Does My Food Come From?

“Where Does My Food Come From?” is a theme that relates kindergarten units from Social Studies and Science as well as Massachusetts State Standards in Language Arts and Math. Students will learn about community interrelatedness, natural resources, environmental concerns, life cycles of plants and animals, family living, seasonal changes, and changes in living over time and geography, especially related to the foods we eat. The project would include a field trip to the farm in the fall, a trip to the local supermarket and to the African market, videos on plant and animal life cycles and on environment during the winter, reading of “Sun Up, Sun Down” by Gail Gibbons, feeding the birds throughout the year, baking bread, and a lunch event for our parents.

Contact: Regina Adams, First Assembly Christian Academy, 30 Tyler-Prentice Road, Worcester, MA 01605

Project Duration: Fall and Winter of 200

Mini-Grant Award: $800


Third Cycle (November 2005)


Grant 1: “Mt. Carmel School Garden Project”
The Mount Carmel School Garden Project is a newly established school garden in the South End of Springfield. It is an organically grown vegetable garden with some space reserved for perennials intended for beneficial insect attraction. The program involves students from 5th through 8th grade and introduces them to many aspects of food production on a small scale; in addition, it gives them experiential knowledge of plant growth, soils, science, and the role of insects in vegetative life. It is a new program, in need of basic supplies so that the students can take full part in the work and learning in the garden.

Contact: Debra A. Foley, Mount Carmel School, 36 Margaret Street, Springfield, MA 01105

Project Duration: Spring through Fall 2006

Mini-Grant Award: $600


Grant 2: “Heirloom Gardening and the North Brookfield Elementary School Fourth Grade”

On a trip to Old Sturbridge Village students will learn about the importance of saving seeds, gardening practices and styles during the 19th century and the changes that impacted farming as new technologies were introduced at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Students will research the history of agriculture and its impact on our lives today. They will make a 19th century seed packet of heirloom seeds, make simple 19th century gardening tools, and take a behind the scenes tour of OSV. Students will discover a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs that were being cultivated as well as technologies available. Using primary sources, such as The Children’s garden and period seed catalogs to support research on agricultural views and innovations students will compare and contrast today’s agricultural practices. Activities at school include planting the seeds and identifying the plant structures and functions agricultural practices used today.

Contact: Martha A. Burkett 4th Grade Teacher, North Brookfield Elementary School 10 New School Drive North Brookfield, MA 01535

Project Duration: Spring 2006 (four to six weeks)

Mini-Grant Award: $860


Grant 3: “Global Weather Changes and the Health of a Local Maple Sugar Grove”

The purpose of this grant is to deepen the school’s service learning collaboration with Janis and Brooks Steele-McCutchen and their maple sugaring operation, Berkshire Gold. Over the past two years students have visited the McCutchen’s farm in March to observe the maple syrup making process. In addition, they have come back in May and June to measure the maple trees at breast height in order to provide data for the McCutchens. The data collection allows them to analyze longitudinally the overall health of their sugar bush in relationship to weather and climate factors that have affected the trees and the consequent sap production. These visits have been facilitated by Ted Watt of the Hitchcock Center through the support of the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, whose generous donations have benefited the Heath’s School study of our local watershed.

It is our belief that it is in the best interest of our children to continue to give them the experience of an expert in environmental and agricultural education so that they may gain the fundamental principles of these disciplines. The project will begin in January as we work with the McCutchens to prepare for the sugaring season. Students will observe and record weather conditions locally and globally to see what the correlation is with sugar production. Students will also record what the McCutchen’s syrup output has been over the past five years. The students will work with the McCutchens during the actual boiling season to observe the technology being used. They will predict the outcome with the data they have collected. After sugaring is complete the students will help to put the equipment away and then, in May they will continue measurement in the sugarbush. With display boards they will organize and present their findings for the community during the Town Meeting the first Saturday in May.

Contact: Susan, B. Todd, Principal, Heath Elementary School 18 Jacobs Road, Heath, MA 01346 Mailing: Charlemont, MA 01346

Project Duration: February to June 2006

Mini-Grant Award: $600             

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