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MAC Mini-Grant Winners 2012

First Cycle   (April 2012)


Mini-Grant 1: "Davis School Vegetable Garden"

This application is a request for funds to continue the garden work at our school.  The garden is starting its third season. It began as a small garden for one class.  Last year it grew to become a garden for charity and donated 500 pounds of produce to local pantries and included 3 classrooms.  This year we want to include all the 500+ students in the school through facilitated tours for learning, planting and harvesting.  One big problem last year was that the garden became choked with weeds.  This year we have a new garden volunteer group consisting of 12 families to help with maintenance.  We seek funding for mulch, additional compost for fertility, and seeds & seedlings.  We will also have miscellaneous expenses to repair the fence and irrigation system.

Contact: Meighan Matthews -- Davis Elementary School-- Davis Rd --Bedford, MA 01730

Project Duration: April through October 31,2012 and into the future.

Mini-Grant Award: $250


Mini Grant 2: "From Compost to Cucumbers"

“From Compost to Cucumbers” combines a number of school initiatives, and will provide a common learning environment for both the middle school and upper school science classes. The Science Department, our student environmental club, Dining Services, Buildings and Grounds, and the school’s Sustainability Committee have proposed initiating a composting program and installing raised beds to be used by the science classes. The students are researching composting methods, and will maintain an outdoor bin system and classroom worm bins. The resulting compost would be used to augment the vegetable garden in new raised beds. We plan to build three raised beds from local lumber, and plant them with seedlings grown by the students, from seed donated by Dining Services. The goal is to introduce our students to this natural cycle of growing vegetables for school use. We hope the hands-on experience of growing food will raise awareness among our students.

Contact: Beth Stinchfield-- Stoneleigh-Burnham School-- 574 Bernardston Rd --Greenfield, MA 01301

Project Duration: Spring and Fall of 2012 and into the future

Mini-Grant Award: $500


Mini-Grant 3: "Selser School Garden"

Selser School is a K-5 elementary school located in Chicopee near Westover Air Base.  It houses approximately 387 students who are bused from their urban neighborhoods. 86% of these students receive breakfast and lunch at the school. Students have had little or no opportunity to engage in planting a garden, harvesting its crop, or connecting the food they eat with ways in which it is grown. A garden would allow students to learn more about agriculture in the hands-on planting, maintaining, harvesting, and sustaining of local plants, and would reinforce basic concepts of plant parts and their functions. The garden would be located on the property of the Chicopee Fire Department which is located next to the school so that all students could participate in the garden activities. Our project would bring out a cooperative spirit in our school, create a more meaningful home-school connection through parental involvement, and encourage community members to take part in our school-wide efforts.

Contact: Judith Hebert-- Selser School-- 12 Dare Way --Chicopee, MA 01022

Project Duration: May/June 2012 and into the future

Mini-Grant Award: $300


Mini-Grant 4: "Farming in the Urban Environment"

Young children need to explore their environment as much as possible to make connections that will enable them to build upon previous knowledge.  I am applying for funding for a field trip experience to an urban farm.  In the classroom our Kindergarten students will be exploring many aspects of farming – where food comes from, composting, jobs in farming, our ability to impact locally our food supply and the rewarding experience of growing your own.  The purpose of the field trip is to give these children a true experience on a farm that they can draw on for years to come and hopefully impact their decisions on what they eat and how they procure it.

Contact: Ann Marie Noel-- Gerena Community School--200 Birnie Ave--Springfield, MA 01107

Project Duration: Spring 2012

Mini-Grant Award: $250


Mini-Grant 5: "Parker School Greenhouse Projct"

The Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School is seeking financial help to build a 26’ by 48’ hoop house or high tunnel greenhouse.  The Parker Community has for several years wanted to build a greenhouse and this year a senior, through his year-long independent project, has taken the initiative to get the project off the ground.  The greenhouse will be built by student, parent and community volunteers.  The structure will house several raised beds to be used by students and faculty to grow greens and other vegetables for the school lunch program.  The remainder of the space will be used as classroom space for our Horticulture classes, student gardening groups and for class projects in grades 7-12.  Students design and execute independent projects each spring, and the greenhouse will enhance their ability to pursue plant-based investigations.  The project is partially funded by the school and United Way Youth Venture.

Contact: Lorin Hill- Francis W Parker School-- 49 Antietam St-- Devens, MA 01434

Project Duration: May 2012 into the future

Mini-Grant Award: $500


Second Cycle   (September 2012)


Mini-Grant 1: "Center Pepin School Garden"

Center Pepin School has commenced a school garden project with the help of a starter grant from Whole Foods Market. The initial grant is being used for site preparation and for to fund the participation of School Sprouts, a program which collaborates with educators and community partners to design and implement standards-driven, hands-on garden education programs. Center Pepin school has a vibrant community of parent volunteers to help make the garden a success. To date, the project has moved forward through removal of asphalt, soil testing, scheduling of work days with parent volunteers, and recruitment of parents to act as garden liaisons. Additional funds are needed to pay for water management materials, wood and soil for building beds, a storage shed and an outdoor classroom.

Contact: Robert Orlando -- 4 Park Street--Easthampton, MA 01027

Project Duration:The initial phase is expected to run to June 2013

Mini-Grant Award: $500



Mini-Grant 2: "Southern Berkshire School Farm"

The Southern Berkshire School Farm has been a cooperative project between the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, Sheffield Land Trust, Sheffield Agricultural Commission, and local farms and businesses. The project’s goal is to construct a permanent school farm on-campus that consists of a barn with outdoor classroom and four rotational pastures for livestock. The presence of a school farm will help fulfill our goal of district-wide agricultural education by providing a hands-on learning experience for students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. To ensure the success of integrating agricultural topics into state standards, agricultural curriculum will be collaboratively developed and high school studentswill be utilized as mentors. This project was started in 2008 by Cassandra Uricchio and the barn construction in nearly complete. The project is in need of funds tofinish the electrical and plumbing work.

Contact: Danielle Melino -- Southern Berkshire Regional School District -- 491 Berkshire School Rd -- Sheffield, MA 01257

Project Duration: April 2008 – January 2012

Mini-Grant Award: $1,000


Mini-Grant 3: "Reflective Volunteering on Local Farm"

With assistance from theMOVE, DMC seventh graders will visit a local farm and engage in volunteer work, as a means of learning about the system of local food production, and the people and ecosystem dynamics involved.

Contact: Ethna Riley, Grade 7 teacher -- Dever-McCormack K-8 School -- 315 Mount Vernon St. --Dorchester, MA 02125

Project Duration: Late September-Early October, 2012

Mini-Grant Award: $390


Third Cycle   (November 2012)


Mini-Grant 1: "How Does Your Garden Grow"

Lowell High School’s Mini-Grant proposal “How Does Our Garden Grow?” is a small-scale farming project designed so that students of all abilities learn to work collaboratively to grow cherry tomatoes for the Lowell High School Cafeteria for use in individual student salads.  This garden will be planned and nurtured by teams of Special Education students, English Language Learner students, and General Education students, ages 14-22.  Student teams will be supervised by teachers and staff; all teams will be supervised by Annette Martell, the project leader.
The multi-ability student teams will help design and build the ADA compliant raised garden bed and platform, plant and tend the cherry tomatoes, and harvest the ripe tomatoes for use in the Lowell High School Cafeteria.  Throughout the duration of the project, students will receive differentiated mini-lessons related to plants, farming, and carbon miles as these concepts relate to using locally grown produce. Our hope is to connect all students to the sustainable food movement, and have them understand, through their own hands-on experience, some of the challenges faced by farmers today.  Also, all students will have a better understanding of each other’s diverse needs; our goal is to make our farming project sustainable by showing all students of Lowell High School that “Community Service” is more than a catch-phrase, but that service to one’s own community can be a rewarding and worthwhile experience for everyone.

Contact: Annette Martell -- Lowell High School -- 50 Father Morissette Blvd.-- Lowell, MA  01852

Project Duration: January-September 2013

Mini-Grant Award: $500


Mini-Grant 2: "Reflective Volunteering in Local Farm":

With assistance from theMOVE, 30 of Higginson-Lewis’s 7th-8th grade students at will visit a local farm and engage in volunteer work, as a means of learning about the system of local food production, and the people and ecosystem dynamics involved. With the help of theMOVE, we will conduct a series of pre and post reflective activities to spark discussion and learning around the social, environmental, and health impacts of varied farming practices.  These activities will include: (1) food systems discussion, (2) activities contrasting food system impacts, and (3) discussion of food choice access and challenges. The reflective farm volunteer trip with theMOVE will address Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom’s goals through an emphasis on experiential learning as a means of gaining a respect for food production, through a face-to-face encounter with 21st century farmers and farmland.

Contact: Sachi Takahashi-Rial-- City Year Boston, team at Higginson-Lewis K-8 School-- City Year Boston -- 287 Columbus Ave.--Boston MA 02116

Project Duration: Fall, 2012- Winter, 2013

Mini-Grant Award: $350


Mini-Grant 3: "Page School Colonial Garden Project"

The Page School is requesting $810 to expand an existing four-bed garden by four additional beds, specifically to create a “Colonial Garden” of vegetables and herbs, focused on the third grade science and social studies curriculum on soil, plant cycles and the early colonial period in Massachusetts history. The purpose is to introduce a part of colonial life in an experiential way, where students learn early agriculture as a necessity for survival, how foods were prepared in that historical period, and how herbs were used for medicinal purposes (many of which still are). Students will journal their experience using scientific, mathematical, language and artistic descriptors. The project will culminate in a fall harvest festival using plants from the garden and using colonial recipes. The agricultural experience will give students a better appreciation of colonial life and the role of agriculture from colonial times to present day.

Contact: Jack O’Mara, Principal -- John C. Page Elementary School -- 694 Main St.-- West Newbury, MA 01985

Project Duration: Fall, 2012- October, 2013

Mini-Grant Award: $810


Mini-Grant 4: Agricultural Field Trip & Farm Day

This project comprises two related programs: Agricultural Field Trips (in-school) and Farm Volunteer Days (extra-curricular). With Agricultural Field Trips, Greenagers collaborates with local high schools to provide students and teachers with opportunities for service learning field trips (place-based education with a volunteer work component). We have scheduled three Agricultural Field Trips for the current academic year. Greenagers’ 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 84 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. This will be our second year running this program, after a very successful pilot year in 2011-12.

Contact: Will Conklin, Program Director-- Greenagers-- 33 Rossetter Street-- Great Barrington, MA 01230

Project Duration: Fall, 2012- October, 2013

Mini-Grant Award: $800


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