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MAC Mini-Grant Winners 2006

First Cycle   (April 2006)


Grant 1: From Field to Plate

The overall objective is to enrich third graders’ understanding of the problems that faced farmers in colonial Massachusetts and of the farm work that was performed by colonial children. The hands-on activities will enhance the students’ appreciation of the effort that is involved in bringing food from the field to their plates. Classroom activities will link the program to American history, math, science, technology, language arts, and creative problem solving. After establishing a wheat field, a corn field, and an apple orchard and nursery at their renovated school in North Reading, the students will plant, tend, harvest, process, and study the crops as they grow. They will figure out how to hand thresh, winnow, and mill wheat into flour, from which they will make bread. The corn will be dried, shelled, milled, and made into hasty pudding and corn bread by the students. They will prune apple trees and will raise root stock onto which future third graders will graft fruit scions. In future years they will make apple pies with their own apples. They will share their experiences with others in the community through authentic writing, drwaing, and photography for newspapers and our school web site.

Contact: Bill Cassell, 3rd Grade Teacher, L.D. Batchelder School, 25 Williams Street, Stoneham, MA 02080 (781) 438-7811.

Note: we are actually a North Reading school, temporarily in Stoneham while our school is being renovated. We expect to return to North Reading in the fall of 2006.

Project Duration: September 2006 through August 2007

Mini-Grant Award: $750


Grant 2    Red Gate Farm Fleece, Fiber, Fabric Program

Red Gate Farm is proposing a Fleece, Fiber, Fabric Program that will teach students about the connections between livestock, fibers and textiles. Students will participate in every step of the process that transforms raw fleece into fiber and fabric. Through hands-on learning projects, students will care for the Farm’s flock of sheep and goats. They will wash, card, spin and dye the wool and mohair fibers. Finally, they will learn to weave, knit or felt the fiber into fabric. By engaging in the process of fiber production, students will gain an understanding and appreciation for this important aspect of Massachusetts’ agriculture. Audience: last year 200 students from Franklin and Hampshire county schools attended workshop, they hope to increase the number this year.

Contact: Adrienne Shelton, Farm Manager, Red Gate Farm Education Center, P. O. Box 300 Buckland, MA 01338 (413) 625-9503


Project Duration:   Spring and summer of 2006 and continued use in future years.

Mini-Grant Award: $800


Grant 3     Raising Our Food with Sustainable Resources

Having embarked on a composting program which recycles Hubbardston Center School food and yard wastes into rich compost, students, teachers, and parents take the next step of using that renewable resource, along with site-collected rainwater to grow food for student consumption. Watching the return of nutrients to the soil, learning the skills of planting and maintaining a garden, and completing cycle by consuming fresh peas and carrots from the garden give students insight into agricultural practices and hands-on experience in the field. These experiences are complemented by interdisciplinary classroom activities: weighing and graphing daily cafeteria leftovers, measuring and charting compost temperatures, and attending a forum if local organic and conventional farmers are among the activities that provide informational background to this experiential learning.

Contact:   Gita Haddad, Grade 5-6 Language Arts teacher; Ted Newton, Grade 5-6 Math and Science Teacher
Karen DiFranza, Farmer, educator and compost advisor, Hubbardston Center School, 8 Elm Street Hubbardston, MA 01452 (978) 928-4487

Project Duration:  May 2006 through April 2007

Mini-Grant Award: $500 


Grant 4.    Community Supper to Promote Local Agriculture

The Project Runs: Course runs from January through May 2006
The objective of this project is to enhance agricultural literacy in South Hadley, MA through the planning and execution of a local-foods community supper. The supper will assist South Hadley High school students in fostering an awareness of what it takes to get food on the table and will also provide a time and space for student researchers and local farmers to make presentations on the benefits of supporting local agriculture. The community supper will be a collaborative effort between South Hadley High School, local farms, and Mount Holyoke College. In order to put on the supper, South Hadley High School is requesting $475. The primary contact is a student at Mount Holyoke College.
Contact:   Emily Morgan, Student Mount Holyoke College 2662 Blanchard Student Center, South Hadley, MA 01075 (814) 688-4082


Project Duration:   January through May 2006

Mini-Grant Award: $200


 Second Cycle (September 2006)


Mini-Grant 1: ‘Pilot Program for a Collaboration between Bowen Elementary School and the Angino Farm in Newton”

Bowen Elementary School is situated in suburban Newton, and many of its students have had little exposure to agriculture. Recently the school has been granted Community Preservation Act funding to refurbish its schoolyard, including building gardening beds. The City of Newton purchased Newton’s last remaining farm, the Angino Farm, through CPA funding. Bowen and the Newton Community Farm are partnering to create innovative curriculum materials to enhance the children’s academic learning, to provide the students with hands-on educational opportunities at the Farm and in the school’s gardening beds, and to educate them about the role agriculture plays in their own lives and the life of the community and the state. Although we have found grants for many aspects of our project, we are requesting funding from Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom to cover costs of bringing Bowen’s over eighty kindergarten students, the first of Newton’s schoolchildren to participate in the Farm’s educational programming, to the Farm during this initial phase.the Angino Farm.

Contact: Jane Walsh, Kindergarten Teacher, Bowen Elementary School, 280 Cypress Street, Newton, MA 02459 

Project Duration: Fall of 2006 and Spring of 2007

Mini-Grant Award: $288


Mini-Grant 2: “Leverett Elementary School Teaching Garden”

The Leverett Elementary School is creating a Teaching garden in its interior courtyard, to be designed and launched over the 2006-2207 school year. Its protected location will eliminate predator pressure and reduce weed problems, while creating maximum access for classes. The garden will be used to promote the understanding of agriculture and the natural environment from pre-school through 6th grade in accordance with Massachusetts educational frameworks. It is being developed in concert with our school’s wellness policy. First year plans include obtaining composters and construction worm bins to study recycling; planting of garlic, a culinary herb garden, a pea/bean trellis, and raised beds for fruits and vegetables. Teachers intend to use the garden to study photosynthesis, germination, the process of natural decay, plant life cycles, historical Massachusetts crops (i.e. 3 sisters), native vs. invasive plants and more. The garden will be available to all grades, and will be tended during the school year by the fifth grade. It will be maintained over the summer by a crew of parent/student volunteers.

Contact: Joan Godsey (5th Grade Teacher), Leverett Elementary School, 85 Montague Road, Leverett, MA 01054

Project Duration: October 2006 through October 2007

Mini-Grant Award: $1,320


Third Cycle (November 2006)


Mini-Grant 1: “From Egg to Chick”

The overall objective is for first grade students to develop an interest in the embryology of a chick as well as a chick’s life cycle. Students will be provided learning experiences in incubation, candling, hatching and brooding chicks. Students will be given detailed daily information on the stages of embryonic development. Throughout the gestation period, students learn the importance of temperature, humidity, egg position, and environmental influences. Students also learn how eggs and chickens are important to our nutrition and the important role farmers have in raising and caring for these animals. Throughout the experience, students draw and write their own mini-book based on their observations and experiences. Other classroom activities utilizing math, science, social studies and language arts are also implemented.

Contact: Carol Aceto, 1st Grade Teacher, Our Lady of Grace School, 90 Nichols Street, Everett, MA 02149

Project Duration: Spring 2007 and Continuing Each Year

Mini-Grant Award: $277


Mini-Grant 2: “Gardening Through the Seasons”

The project titled, “Gardening Through the Seasons,” has students maintaining vegetable and herb production with the use of a hydroponics system. The objective of the project is for students to see the gardening can be done all year. The school is proposing a hydroponics planting system to be added to their horticulture program. The project follows the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks standards for plant biology.

Contact: Becky Sevigny Mill Pond School 91 Old Acre Road Springfield, MA 01129 (413) 783-0567

Project Duration: Fall of 2006 and will run throughout the year.

Mini-Grant Award: $1,400 

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