Educators & Agriculture
MAC Mini-Grant Winners 2011
First Cycle (April 2011)
Mini-Grant 1: "Pilgrim Academy Outdoor Classroom"
Plymouth Academy hopes to build a greenhouse, six raised beds and compost bins to foster awareness in its students of sustainable eating and the benefits of composting to divert natural waste from landfills.
Contact: Missy Schortmann Sorrenti and Ed Duane -- Pilgrim Academy -- 42 Industrial Park Road -- Plymouth, MA 02360.
Project Duration: April through August 2011 and into the future.
Mini-Grant Award: $650
Mini Grant 2: "Growing Seeds - Growing Minds"
The Page Elementary School (K – 6) is seeking additional financial help to allow the purchase of supplies necessary to build and maintain a raised bed vegetable garden. Bed frames would be built by parent volunteers. All classes would take responsibility for handling different aspects of the garden project. Crops planned for the first year of the garden are spring and fall vegetables, herbs and pumpkins.
Contact: Jack O'Mara, Principal -- John C. Page Elementary School -- 694 West Main Street -- West Newbury, MA 01985
Project Duration: Spring and Fall of 2011 and into the future
Mini-Grant Award: $670
Mini-Grant 3: "Going Back to Our Roots Garden Project: Expanding our Agricultural Knowledge Beyond the Classroom"
The Delaney Elementary School in Wrentham hopes to build a 180' by 33' garden on the school grounds. The objective is to use garden activities in an integrated, cross-curricular fashion to reconnect students in pre-K through grade 6 to farming, local food production, healthy eating and the importance of agriculture. Several co-sponsors from the Wrentham community have committed their support to this project. Matching funds are in place.
Contact: Janice Young, Grade 2 teacher -- Delaney Elementary School -- 120 Taunton Street -- Wrentham, MA 02903
Project Duration: January 2011 and into the future
Mini-Grant Award: $650
Mini-Grant 4: "We're Going to the Big E!"
Four fifth grade classes from the Harvard Kent Elementary School would travel to the Big E on September 22, 2011 to learn about their New England agricultural heritage and bring learning back to their classrooms. Funding for one bus has already been secured.
Contact: Teresa Strong, Science Specialist -- Harvard-Kent Elementary School -- 50 Bunker Hill Street -- Charlestown, MA 02129
Project Duration: September 22, 2011 and impact throughout the year.
Mini-Grant Award: $850
Mini-Grant 5: "Reflective Volunteering on a Local Farm"
Martin Luther King School would like to participate in a reflective farm volunteer trip organized by the MOVE (Massachusetts Outdoor Volunteer Experience – www.getoutama.org) to one of a range of nearby farms, depending on a match of availability. The group consists of 46 students in grades 6-8. The group consists most heavily of students of color with approximately 63% of students in the school qualifying for reduced/free lunch middle school to visit a local farm and engage in volunteer work as a way to learn about the system of local food production and people and ecosystem dynamics involved. This reflective farm volunteer trip would emphasize experiential learning as a means of gaining respect for food production through a face-to-face encounter with 21st century farmers and farmland.
Contact: Elise Morgan - Cambridge Public Schools -- 100 Putnam Avenue -- Cambridge, MA 02139
Project Duration: Spring 2011
Mini-Grant Award: $300
Mini-Grant 6: "What Can You Feed Your Family? An Integrated Unit to Explore Local and Global Food Systems"
Seventh graders will be asked to "step into the shoes" of families purchasing their weekly meals. Their "family" will be determined during a social studies unit. Students will be randomly assigned a family status using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Their race, marital status, number of children and socioeconomic status represent the diversity found in the U.S. With $100.00 in hand, students will travel to a grocery store to purchase healthy food for a day, a couple of days or a week (depending on their income). Students will compare their purchases and experience the dissonance of what constitutes a local, healthy meal as compared to what someone of little means can actually purchase. To learn about local food systems, about programs that aim to provide fresh, local food in low-income communities and about sustainable growing practices, students will visit Long Hill Farm in Beverly, MA, which is part of the Food Project. As a final product, students will grow herbs and vegetables from see and plant them in container gardens to donate to Beverly Bootstraps food pantry along with the food purchased earlier in the unit.
Contact: Chris Draper, Social Studies; Sarah Currie-English, English; Barbara Kelley, Spanish & Jen Mallette, Science -- Grade 7 Project Team -- Glen Urquhart School -- 74 Hart Street -- Beverly Farms, MA 01915
Project Duration: September 2011 through May 2012
Mini-Grant Award: $300
Second Cycle (September 2011)
Mini-Grant 1: "Meet Your Farmer"
In our proposed project, entitled "Meet Your Farmer," Tai Dinnan, Gardens Coordinator at Groundwork Somerville will facilitate a collaborative effort to help urban students develop a more concrete and respectful vision of the farming occupation. "Meet Your Farmer" will increase student appreciation for the work it takes to produce food, transport it to urban communities such as Somerville, and serve it in healthy and appetizing meals. Students will consider the positive environmental impacts of organic farming and gardening, especially in urban neighborhoods with little green space. We request $662 from the MAC, Inc. MiniGrant Program to allow the School Garden Coordinator and a local Farmer to visit ten urban at-risk Somerville classrooms during the winter months of the 2011-2012 school year.
Contact: Tai Dinnan, Groundwork Somerville -- 21 Properzi Way -- Suite O -- Somerville, MA 02143
Project Duration: November 14, 2011 to January 27, 2012
Mini-Grant Award: $362
Mini-Grant 2: "Egg to Chicken: Bird Characteristics in the Classroom"
Natick Community Organic Farm wishes to apply for a $1,500 mini-grant from Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom in order to expand the reach of its popular hands-on learning program, "Egg to Chicken: Bird Characteristics." This program teaches about the life cycle of chickens through hands-on care and first hand observation of an in-classroom incubator. Each class will receive a 50-minute in-class program about egg development prior to setting up their incubators. If awarded, this grant would cover the purchase of two additional incubators and would provide 60 hours of instruction for K-2 grade students in Natick and surrounding towns who attend schools that have been unable to afford the program.
Contact: Lynda Simpkins, Executive Director -- Natick Community Organic Farm -- 117 Eliot Street -- Natick, MA 01760
Project Duration: October 1, 2011 through February 28, 2012
Mini-Grant Award: $500
Mini-Grant 3: "Farm Volunteer Days"
Our Farm Volunteer Days program brings local young people to local farms for a day of volunteer work and farm education. Greenagers provides skilled leaders to work with the youth on the projects assigned by the farmers. The farmers gain 42 to 48 hours of volunteer labor per farm, depending on the number of volunteers. The youth acquire agricultural knowledge and a better understanding of our local food sources through hands-on experience on small, sustainable community farms. Greenagers is a program of The Center for Peace through Culture, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit. Dedicated to providing local young people with volunteer and paid opportunities to connect with their environment and community through trail and farm work. Each Farm Volunteer day will host 6-12 youth volunteers, ages 14-24. Tasks include weeding, mulching, harvesting/cleaning, planting and market preparation. In the winter months, youth have participated in logging with oxen, firewood splitting and stacking and farm clean-up.
Contact: William Conklin, Project Director -- Greenagers -- 33 Rossetter Street -- Great Barrington, MA 01230 --www.greenagers.org
Project Duration: September 1, 2011 through August 31, 1012
Mini-Grant Award: $510
Third Cycle (November 2011)
Mini-Grant 1: "The Expansion of the Bagnall Children's Garden-Outdoor Classroom"
The Bagnall School Garden-Outdoor Classroom project is a cooperative effort between school staff, students, families and community. The goal of the project is to engage students in as much of the process of growing vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers as possible with the support of the school community. The garden is open to grades Pre-K to grade 6. Teachers and staff who are not able to participate actively in garden work are encouraged to use the garden as an outdoor classroom or as a place for reflection throughout the year. the school community has already benefited greatly from the existence of the garden since it was established last May. Additional funds will allow for expansion of the garden during this school year. Support from local grants and community foundations will be sought in future years.
Contact: Cathy Bevelaqua, Grade 1 Teacher -- Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall Elementary School -- 253 School Street -- Groveland, MA 01834
Project Duration: May 2011 and continuing on into the future
Mini-Grant Award: $500
Mini-Grant 2: "The Year's First Harvest: Maple Syrup":
The Heath Elementary School would like to purchase maple sugaring equipment which the school would operate alongside of local maple sugar producers and become an enduring component of its overall educational program. If funded, this proposal would make it possible for the school to provide interdisciplinary, multi-age projects about maple sugaring to children in grades pre-K through 6. Students would have the opportunity to help with the production of syrup and participate in the entire sugaring process from beginning to end. The goal of the project is to engender in students a deep understanding of and pride in sugaring, a time-honored, sustainable agricultural practice specific to their locale and rich in history and tradition.
Contact: Eric Glazier, Principal & Camille Freeman -- The Heath Elementary School -- 18 Jacobs Road -- Heath, MA 01346
Project Duration: January through April 2012 and then on-going
Mini-Grant Award: $1,000
Mini-Grant 3: "Worm's, Nature's Recyclers"
This proposal seeks assistance with setting up a station in each classroom at Wellfleet (K-grade 5) Elementary School for a school-wide vermiculture program. Funding is needed to buy buckets which will be drilled to provide aeration, red wiggler worms and European night crawlers. Students will shred newspaper for bedding, add healthy snacks from their classroom waste to fee their worms and monitor their bin. At the end of the school year, half of the worms will be added to the raised beds in the hoop house of the school's Edible Garden on campus. The remaining worms will go home with volunteers over the summer and be returned to school the following September to continue the project. The vermicomposting project will be sustainable over the long term.
Contact: Claudia Cope-Crosen, R.N., W.E.S., Edible Garden Coordinator -- Wellfleet Elementary School -- 100 Lawrence Road -- Wellfleet, MA 02667
Project Duration: January through June 2012 and then on-going
Mini-Grant Award: $420
Mini-Grant 4: Teaching Agricultural Literacy with The Omnivores Dilemma"
A team of teachers at J.F. Kennedy Middle School has consolidated existing curriculum into a three week long integrated study with the goal of helping 8th grade students become literate about agriculture. The project aims to create informed consumers of local agricultural products and develop critical thinking skills for making good decisions about food. Pollans' The Omnivore's Dilemma will provide a shared point of reference for all students. Issues related to agriculture will be addressed through the lenses of English, history, math and science. Guest speakers will include members of 4-H and FFA. Students will visit two local farms and there will be a culminating activity that involves a farmers market with locally raised livestock in addition to local produce.
Contact: Ellen Coss Kennedy, Science Teacher, John F. Kennedy Middle School - 100 Bridge Road -- Florence, MA 01062.
Project Duration: Three weeks in April 2012 and will be repeated in subsequent years.
Mini-Grant Award: $800