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First Cycle   (April 1998)

Grant 1     "Gardens at the School"

The town of Warwick is in the process of building a new school on a pristine and very rural site. The opportunities are limitless for the incorporation of MAC programs at this site. We have identified a number of projects, some which will define the school grounds space and some will provide opportunities for on-going agricultural projects, and some will provide students with the opportunity to study areas that are unusual for this section of the state (i.e.. cranberry bog). It is an exciting time for Warwick. Some of the projects include: planting a maple stand and maple sugaring, a school vegetable garden, planting a perennial garden, design and complete school landscape plantings in cooperation with the community and contractors, investigate and study a cranberry bog next to the school. Audience: This program will reach approximately 100 children in grades K-6 with provisions for children in 7-12.

Contact: Wallace McCloud, Warwick Center School  22 Orange Rd. Warwick, MA 01378

Project Runs: Spring of1998 through Summer of 1999

Mini- Grant Award: $1,000                                         


Grant 2   "Changing Lives Through Gardening"

The goal of the "Changing Lives Through Gardening project is to have youth who have been or are committed to the Department of Youth Services participate in a hands-on gardening program which will educate them in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, educational pursuits (reading, math, food preparation and consumption, cultural awareness with the types of crops planted, communication skills, negotiations and reasoning skills) and environmental awareness. Additionally the project will foster team building, community awareness, community service and sensitivity to cultural diversity. The project will raise self esteem and feed families and the community at large.

Contact: Ruth Rovezzi Director of Community Support Services Dept of Youth Services Central Area P.O. Box 1380 Westboro, MA 01581

Project Runs: May 1, 1998 through fall of 1998

Mini-Grant Award: $500                                                    


Grant 3     Classroom Connection Program

Gaining Ground, Inc., a Concord, Massachusetts., non-profit, is collaborating with Nashoba Brooks School, Alcott School and Concord/Carlisle High School to continue and expand a model program to involve students in more substantial ways in Gaining Ground's food bank gardens. We plan to give students full-season experiences in the gardens, with their classes and as community service volunteers, with learning opportunities that range from applied science to the rich literary history of Concord gardens.

Contact: Jamie Bemis,  Director,  Gaining Ground, Inc. 21 Liberty Street, P.O. Box 374 Concord, MA 01742

Mini-Grant Award:  $500     


Grant 4     A Visit to a Massachusetts Apple Orchard

Students will visit a local apple orchard. Curriculum is designed to incorporate apple activities into every area of curriculum for several weeks. Pre-lessons and post-lessons are interdisciplinary and promote cooperative learning. The students will learn how apple trees are grown, how apple orchards impact the local environment, and how environmental conditions impact crop production. Apple growing, as a complex industry, will be built into curriculum. Students will become aware of crop varieties, use of terminology in agriculture, environmental impact of pesticides, environmental impacts of weather and diseases. lessons will present the economic and health importance of apples in our daily lives. Children will learn the nutritional values of many apple products and use in recipes. The program will involve hands-on learning. We will write a resource handbook that will benefit other teachers. A video tape of our visit to the orchard and instructional activities will be shared with other classrooms.

Contact: Jeanne MacEachern, 2nd Grade Teacher, B.B. Russell School, 45 Oakdale Street, Brockton, MA 02401

Project Runs: September and October, 1998

Mini-Grant Award: $500                                                               


Grant 5     AquaHarvest Mini Fish Farm

This project uses recirculating fish farming and hydroponic technologies to teach a better understanding and appreciation of sustainable agriculture techniques. Knowing and understanding where food comes from, how one produces food and the effect of water quality and environmental factors in producing fish and plants will give students knowledge about sustainable agricultural techniques. High school students taking an aquaculture course will design, produce, demonstrate and document an aquaponic system which can be assembled from parts available in catalogs. This system will be maintained by students and donated to one of six elementary schools in our school district. Documentation and descriptive exercises will be published on the Internet and thereby be made available to any other interested student or classroom teacher.

Contact: Glenn R. Hearn Martha's Vineyard Regional High School P.O. Box 1385 Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Project Runs: September of 1997 to October of 1997

Mini-Grant Award:  $1,500                                                          


Grant 6      Children's Garden at Waltham Fields Community Farm

Waltham Fields Community Farm, a charitable organic farm, operating largely with volunteer support, proposes to build upon its experience as a host site for field trips by school and summer camp programs, by setting aside up to 1/2 an acre as a Children's Garden with ethnic gardens, climbing peas and beans, salad greens including edible flowers, etc., and developing a structured seven week summer program for elementary school-age children, combining hands-on garden experience and environmental learning. Waltham Fields Community Farm proposes to offer farm-based educational activities for 3-5 groups of elementary school-age children enrolled in camps serving metropolitan Boston area youth.

Contact: Oakes Plimpton C/OWATCH, 333 Moody St #201, Waltham, MA 02154

Project Runs: Spring through fall of 1998

Mini-Grant Award:  $500                                                       


Grant 7     Hooked on Heirlooms: An Environmental and Multicultural Project on Seed Saving

This seed saving project is based upon the urgent fact that we are losing the diversity of our food plants. It is an attempt not only to make students aware, but to give them the knowledge and skills to take action by teaching them the skill of seed saving. Through this hands-on integrated curriculum, students will explore the numerous varieties of vegetables and the diversity of cultures that those varieties represent. Through investigation, experiments and field trips, the students will learn about the cultural and environmental influences upon these plants. Students will also learn about the threats upon the diversity of food plants due to hybridization, large scale agriculture and the pressures of marketing and transportation of produce.

Contact:  Bethann R. Orr 420 Wakeby Road, Marstons Mills, MA 02648   

Project Runs: May 1 through October 1, 1998

Mini-Grant Award:   $1,500                                                           


Grant 8     Nutrition and Local Agriculture Education

We would like to request a grant in the amount of $1,500 to be used for busses in our Nutrition and Local Agriculture Education program. This program is a collaborative effort between University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture. The overall program has been designed to increase nutritional and agricultural knowledge of school children through classroom activities and experiential learning by touring local farms. Schools who are eligible for this program are ones in which 50% or more of the students take part in the school lunch program. The field trip portion of the program will be dependent on funding, however the classroom portion will be on-going and is funded by a Family Nutrition Program grant. The objectives of the program are to teach school children about healthy diet , nutrition and to familiarize children with foods that are produced in Massachusetts.

Contact: Lisa Roberts, Nutrition Educator, UMASS P.O. Box 1196 19 St. Rose Street Rear Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-1196

Project Runs: Spring through fall of 1998

Mini-Grant Award:  $1,500 


2nd Cycle    (September 1998)


Grant 1       Emerald House Community Garden Project

A community garden which links the efforts and interests of the East Falmouth Elementary School and the retired population of East Falmouth for the purpose of establishing a financially self sustaining garden and strawberry field is underway. Land was donated to the town of Falmouth for the purpose of creating a senior center. The land that was donated was once a farm. There is considerable interest in maintaining the farming tradition that the area once enjoyed through the creation of a community garden. Children will work along with the senior community to establish the garden. The produce will be sold roadside with the monies being earmarked for the continued success of the community garden. "The Friends of the Emerald House", a volunteer committee, will be overseeing and coordinating the project in conjunction with the school.

Contact: Debra McRoberts East Falmouth Elementary School  33 Davisville Road, East Falmouth, MA 02536

Project Runs: Started in spring of 1998 and on-going from there

Mini-Grant Award: $271                                                               


Grant 2        Beyond the Store: The Soule Homestead Education Center

The Soule Homestead Education Center is a non-profit educational farm, located on 130 acres of land operated as a family farm for about 150 years, most recently as a dairy operation, and now owned by the town of Middleborough. This project will bring approximately 300 second grade students to the farm for three visits - one in the fall, one in the winter and one in the spring. During the first visit they will experiment with soil, make compost and go for a hike/scavenger hunt to learn about trees and tree products. During the winter students will learn the difference between domesticated and wild animals, participate in interactive story telling, card and spin wool, make butter and popcorn and do activities with feathers and eggs. The final visit will focus on plants and insects - planting seeds, onions and potatoes in the garden and to take home and going on a discovery walk for insects.

Contact: Karen Dusek, Soule Homestead Farm 46 Soule Street Middleborough, MA 02346

Project Runs: Fall of 1998 through spring of 1999

Mini-Grant Award: $1,081                                                       


Grant 3      4-H Beautification and Feed the Hungry Project

UMass Extension/4-H and the New Bedford Housing Authority have collaborated to provide a 4-H Community Service Learning Program at five schools. The project is funded by the Massachusetts Service Alliance with matching funds from other sources. The students wish to continue beautifying their school grounds and provide food for the hungry. The current Mass. Service Alliance grant provides funds for staff to work with youth and a limited amount of supplies. Funds are needed to purchase five 30 gallon fish tanks in order to carry out the plans of raising tilapia fish and growing plants hydroponically. Each tank cost $300. Therefore, the request for five tanks, one per school site is needed and totals $1,500.

Contact: Mildred Gedrites Extension Educator 4-H Youth and Family Development Program, Bristol County 4-H Office 84 Center Street, Dighton, MA 02715

Project Runs: September of 1998 through the school year

Mini-Grant Award:   $1,500                                                                    


Grant 4       The Massachusetts Cranberry Harvest Festival Education Program

The Massachusetts Cranberry Harvest Festival Education Program strives to educate children about agriculture and the cranberry industry through education hands-on activities culminating at the Edaville Cranberry Bogs. Between 500 and 800 forth graders will participate in the program which runs during late September through October. The program, sponsored by the Cape Cod Cranberry growers' Association, has expanded the 1998 program to allow for the return of schools participating in the past, and for new participants. This year the program's total estimated cost is $3,086; $2,000 of which will be in-kind matching funds. Therefore, the programs total requested funds are $1,086.

Contact: Emily Sperling, Communications and Grower Services, Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association 266 Main Street Wareham, MA 02571

Project Runs: September and October of 1998

Mini-Grant Award:   $1,086                                                                       


Grant 5        When the Land is No More: Creative Solutions for a Food Production Problem

Imagine being confronted with the following problem: Your family unit faces its first challenge. Land that had provided food for survival is now off limits due to contamination by toxins once used and though to be safe by previous generations. Trade with others outside your area has been suspended. All that is available for use is a supply of public "mineral" water, rock wool cubes, seeds and materials stored at the transfer station. without the use of the land, how will your family produce enough food to survive?Approximately 300 eight grade students will engage in this hands-on critical thinking project through the Family Living and Consumer Education class at Masconomet Regional Junior High School. The intent of this project is to promote a better understanding of the cause and effect relationship consumer choice has on our food supply and environment. As the land around the school is torn up though building expansion project, students will develop an appreciation of agriculture when they have to design, build and evaluate a soil-less unit that is capable of producing food. Through this small group project, students will develop an awareness of the concerns confronted through traditional farming methods as well as an understanding of the role hydroponics has in the production of food.

Contact: Susan S. Micus, Health and Consumer Education Teacher, Masconomet Regional Junior HS 20 Endicott Road, Topsfield, MA

Project Runs: September of 1998 through June of 1999

Mini-Grant Award:   $850 


Grant 6      Bringing the Orchard Ecosystem to the Classroom

This project "Bringing Orchard Ecosystem to the Classroom" is requesting $1,500 from MAC that will be matched with a cost-share by the participating school systems. The project will support classroom and field visits by a professional independent orchard integrated pest management (applied ecology) consultant, who will devise various presentations appropriate for students from kindergarten through high school.

Contact:  Kathleen Leahy, Polaris Orchard Management, 364 Wilson Hill Road Colrain, MA 01340 

Project Runs: September/October 1998 through June 1999

Mini-Grant Award:  $500


3rd Cycle (November 1998)


Grant 1      West Middle School School-to-Work Nursery Project

One hundred twenty five students from West Middle School in Andover, Massachusetts will divide into crews to develop plans in response to several problems, some of their own creation, associated with the growth of plants and green house management. These problems may range from investigations of productivity and growth potential of certain plants to the profit possibilities of raising plants with restricted resources. The planting and raising of the produce will be carried out at a local nursery under the direction of David Konjoian, a local agriculturist. Mr. Konjoian is offering his facility for this field study. Students will work with Mr. Knojoian at the greenhouse and at school and will visit the greenhouse in crews weekly to conduct plantings, tend to plant tables, make and record observations of plant growth. Crews will report to the team as a whole upon return to the school.

Contact: James J. Redmond Andover West Middle School Shawsheen Road Andover, MA 01810

Project Duration:      January of 1999 and will end in May of 1999.

Mini-Grant Award: $850


Grant 2   The Seed to Bread Project

The Seed to Bread project involves a class of the public school, Rebecca Johnson, in Springfield, MA and the Hampshire College School-to-Farm program in Amherst, MA . The students will travel to Hampshire's farm a total of five times: to plant, observe the growth, harvest, thresh and bake bread. The students will begin the project in the spring of their fourth grade and complete it by November of their fifth grade. In order to accomplish this project a total of $1,460 is requested to cover the cost of transportation for the children, staff time and program materials.

Contact: Mrs. Veta Daley, Principal for Ms. Robin Bailey's class - Rebecca M. Johnson School 55 Catherine Street Springfield, MA 01109

Project Duration:    Starting in spring of 1999 and completed in November of 1999

Mini-Grant Award: $650  


Grant 3      See How It Grows

This project is designed to introduce urban school children in grades K-5 to the process by which food is grown and the resources necessary to that process. The children will test soil, start plants from seed, transplant to outdoor plots, tend and harvest their gardens. They will learn to compost and will visit local orchards and farms to see real world examples of the micro gardens they are creating.

Contact:    Philip J. Mantoni,   Principal.    Alice B. Beals School      285 Tiffany Street Springfield, MA   01108

Project Duration:    March of 1999 through November 1999

Mini-Grant Award: $750


Grant 4     Environmental Technology Aquaculture Program

The Environmental technology program in conjunction with the horticulture shop is in the process of starting an aquaculture project. The project will be located in a greenhouse that has not been used in quite a while and has fallen in disrepair. The grant along with funding from the school would bring the greenhouse back into service and purchase an additional recirculating system.

Contact: Rosemarie Bradley, Environmental Technology Teacher, Minuteman Science- Technology  High School and Adult Career Center 758 Marrett Road Lexington, MA 02173-7398

Project Duration: Mid-November 1998 through March

Mini-Grant Award:  $1,500


Grant 5  The John Marshall School Greenhouse Education Project

The John Marshall Elementary School Greenhouse Project aims to take advantage of an existing greenhouse, currently in disrepair and underutilized, to teach children from Boston's inner-city neighborhoods about the science and economics of food production and organic growing techniques. The project is a joint effort of the Marshall School and Boston Urban Gardeners at the Community Farm, with additional support from members of the Fields Corner Business Association and parent volunteers. Guest speakers and special events in the greenhouse will help link the school to the community, and students will help to plan and undertake small scale entrepreneurial projects designed to increase their awareness of the economic realities of agriculture in Massachusetts. Funds supplied by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom will be used to support the renovation of the greenhouse and the development of greenhouse-based science and social studies units for students K-5, based on the philosophy of FoodWorks in Vermont, which will enable students to explore the vital agricultural and ecological heritage of their communities through their work in the greenhouse.

Contact: Theresa Jackson, Principal and Tom Maher and Peter Balcanoff, Science Specialists,  The John Marshall Elementary School,  35 Westville Street Dorchester, MA 02124

Project Duration:  January of 1999 through June of 1999

Mini-Grant Award: $1,250


Grant 6     The Effects of Composting on Plant Growth

The proposed project will examine the positive aspects of composting and its value in farming and agriculture. Grades 3 and 4 children will bring in compost materials from home to add to the class pile. Some compost materials may come from our school cafeteria. The compost soil will be used to build 4 beds while one bed will be a control where no compost is added. Four different vegetables will be grown in our soil. Children will observe, record and graph plant growth. In June, the vegetables will be eaten. The project goal is for students to learn about and experience the benefits of recycling organic materials by using their new soil to grow vegetables. Students from Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole will also make classroom visits to share with the students their experiences in composting. The garden beds will remain as a permanent part of the Woodland School environment so future classes will be able to experiment with composting and plant growth.

Contact: Jeff Wolff , Assistant Principal and Carrie Brandt and Martha Iacovelli, (Grade 3 teachers) Woodland Elementary School 17 N. Vine Street    Milford, MA 01757

Project Duration: September of 1998 through June of 1999

Mini-Grant Award: $650


Grant 7     Building A Greenhouse

This greenhouse project is one which is very exciting. The children will be involved in this project from the beginning to the end. The children will have to research information about small greenhouses, create plans and drawings, decide on a list of materials, work within a budget, and finally work with local carpenters to construct their greenhouse project. Once the greenhouse has been constructed the children will determine which plants to start, how to care for them and when to transplant outside.

Contact: Wallace McCloud, Principal, Warwick Center School 22 Orange Road Warwick, MA 01378

Project Duration: Winter 1998 through summer 1999

Mini-Grant Award: $750


Grant 8   An On-Farm Educational Activities Guide Book and Farm Directory for Western Massachusetts

The Pioneer Valley Farm, Food and Health Education Project is creating a guide book for teachers and farmers for on-farm educational activities together with a directory of farms in western Massachusetts. The purposes of the guide book/directory are: (1) to help teachers and farmers plan educational activities for students to do while visiting farms, and (2) to document those farms that host school groups and provide hands-on activities for students. The directory will list the following data: farm location, type and size of farm, a capsule history of the farm, chief commodities (listing five), and the seasonality of farm activities. The directory will list farmers who will visit classrooms to talk about what they do. The directory will serve the education and farm communities in Massachusetts as a resource for boosting on-farm visits by school groups and encouraging teachers to bring agriculture into their classrooms. The primary product will be a 20 page booklet.

Contact: Alexander MacPhail Pioneer Valley Farm, Food and Health Education Project 92 Florence Street Leeds, MA 01053-9704

Project Duration:    November 1998 to March 1, 1999

MAC Mini-Grant Winners 1998

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