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SFG Project - Elementary School

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SFG Project - Elementary School

Post  sfg4uKim on 11/12/2011, 5:33 am

Very productive meeting on Thursday with representatives from a few of our county agencies (Education, Commerce, Health, Parks & Rec, Planning & Zoning) and another great organization (Grow Annapolis) about a project at an elementary school.

The school is in a very poor part of the county (right on the edge of the county that borders Baltimore) where 80% of the children are Title I students.

Parks & Rec will fence in a 16' x 40' area with a 10' chain link fence to hopefully prevent vandalism and there's already a water supply to that area.

SFG will only be a part of the project, but after my presentation they will implement more of the SFG method than originally planned. Unless we can get donations for "Mel's Mix", they will go with a cheaper alternative. FORTUNATELY we have an independent state agency that produces LeafGro (which we use as one of our ingredients for our compost).

Of course I will submit a grant request from the Foundation and MY part of the project will be 100% SFG (I'm thinking a TT and the boxes that go onto the chain link fence).

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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A casual comment can blossom

Post  sfg4uKim on 11/12/2011, 5:44 am

I thought y'all might be interested how I got involved in this project.

In August I brought my mom here to MD to live with me and after getting her settled in, I started taking her to the local senior center.

The director and I started talking about the nice garden area around the center and I found out she is a master gardener. She asked if I'd present SFG to the gardening committee. Next year I will be putting in a SFG at the center and holding classes.

Shortly after this meeting Nancy (the director) got a request for the school project and she said that she thought SFG would be a wonderful addition to the project.

So, a casual comment about the senior center garden has blossomed into TWO projects.

Oh, and I have another project in the works. I recently had to place mom into assisted living and I have been asked (by one of the facilities that I DIDN'T choose) to put in some table top beds on their deck.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: SFG Project - Elementary School

Post  sfg4uKim on 11/12/2011, 6:03 am

Back to the ES project:

I brought a "demonstration garden" (2 shoe boxes from the $1 store - one with drainage holes) with me to the meeting.


This one contains snap peas, leaf lettuce and onions

The project at the school will initially start small - as a "garden club" where children will need to sign up. It will also be incorporated into the summer school program which is great because most of the worry about this kind of project is that it's neglected during summer break.

Since the initial scale will be small, I suggested that each student who signs up for the program could be given one of the boxes above to take home at the end of the school year to introduce SFG at home.

The cost would be about $2 per child - instead of two shoe boxes, we could use one box with drainage holes and the lid could be the drip tray which we can glue in place. It will take about $1 to fill with "Mel's Mix", give them seeds and an instructional brochure.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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sfg4uKim

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Re: SFG Project - Elementary School

Post  littlejo on 11/12/2011, 9:47 am

I think the shoe boxes is a great idea. One of the biggest obstacles is 'buying for the school' versus 'buying for each student'

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Re: SFG Project - Elementary School

Post  Luci Dawson on 11/12/2011, 10:59 am

ksroman wrote:Back to the ES project:

I brought a "demonstration garden" (2 shoe boxes from the $1 store - one with drainage holes) with me to the meeting.

good idea

Wouldn't it be lovely if your program resulted in another Josh or two to carry SFG forward to the next generations!

I've been thinking about taking the correspondence course to get certified as there is no one in NM at present. It would also be a good opportunity for me to really learn the system and then learn even more by teaching it. I was initially thinking of doing a cooperative venture with Habitat for Humanity, the local chapter of which I support every month...but do like the idea of taking it into the younger community as well.

KUDOS!!!!


Last edited by Luci Dawson on 11/12/2011, 11:01 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add more)

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Re: SFG Project - Elementary School

Post  milaneyjane on 11/13/2011, 10:37 pm

That is fabulous news!!! It sounds like you have a great support in the community for this project and I love you shoe box idea! I can't wait to follow the progress.

Since our school garden expanded past one small box to school wide SFG it has been amazing to see all the ways that the children are benefiting from them! We were fortunate to be able to fund ours through our school PTO. As I went to pick up compost at various stores, I think I probably could have gotten much of the MM supplies donated if I had called ahead of time to the various gardening centers. They were all very interested when I told them what I was doing with the copious amounts of peat and compost, LOL! I think I would check into that---both the big box stores as well as the smaller garden centers. We also had some plants donated from a local nursery that were surplus that we added to the seedlings that I had started from my own supply this year.

I know you will have great ideas! If I could share with others starting SFG at schools a few things I have learned, these would be a few of my suggestions:

1) Really think about what you plant. I planned the gardens based on plants that I knew would not need to be picked over the summer months but also that could be combined for various cooking projects (basil, onion, tomato and green peppers for tomato sauce and salsa). We also did flowers that could be cut for the classrooms as well as sunflowers that the younger children used for fine motor skills by picking the seeds out with tweezers. This winter I am going to get input from the classrooms on other ideas they may have. We had a lot of parent volunteers coming into the school to do cooking projects with the children and salsa was definately a favorite. For the younger children in preschool, they loved planting their potatos, digging them out, scrubbing and cooking them. We also had a few items that children might not normally be exposed to including beets. My daughters class baked them and had them for their daily snack---and loved them! We divided the beds by classroom but towards the end they were all just "school" beds. Because these were funded at the last minute, teachers didn't have much input as to what was planted.

2) Volunteer help. Another way to increase parent involvement over the summer months with garden care is the enticement of free garden goody picking. Our parents are all required to volunteer since we are a charter school and it is a great way for them to get their hours in. We have also had parents volunteer because they DON"T know anything about gardening and want to learn how.

3) Publicity. Is there anyway to get publicity for the project? I know your school may not have as many resources or parents with resources as we did, but is there an outside ways to get the word out? After PTO donated the money, they have been asking for monthly updates to put in a school newsletter so parents are aware of just how entwined the gardens have become with the learning at the school. I have been letting them know what each class has done with the produce, what type of lessons were taught (ex: We did a math estimation lesson with pumpkin seeds before we roasted them. It required estimation strategies, fractions and multiplication.) As a result we have had parents offer to take our gardens to the next step and just this week had another bed for school wide composting donated and another saying they would be interested in donating rain barrels!

4) Sell it to the teachers!!! The gardens are only going to be successful in the classroom if you have the support of the teachers and other staff. If the teacher doesn't think they can incorporate the gardens into their classroom learning, or doesn't have the time, they are not going to be as willing to get their students involved. Because I am at the school, I try to make as many opportunities for all the children even from other classrooms to get out to the gardens before and after school and during recess, even if it is just to poke around in the soil and look for bugs.

5) Make them take ownership. This is really coming into play now that we have our revised composting up and running to maintain the gardens. Each class is REQUIRED to compost lunch each day, record how much is going into the compost pile (we are using marked ice cream buckets in each class), and carry out their compost each day. The older students will be keeping a path to the compost pile shoveled all winter, and the middle grades will be picking up the compost from the preschool children. The older children researched composting and came to each classroom and trained the other students on what they could and couldn't compost.

5) Find parents in the school to keep the momentum going! It sounds like there are others involved in this besides yourself, but the more parents and staff that are on board the better!

6) School Committee for long term support. Our school has an Environmental Committee made up of staff (but having a few parents on it as well would be even better) This gardens are now incorporated into this committee that oversees the outside of the school including landscaping, outdoor improvement projects, composting and the gardens.

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Re: SFG Project - Elementary School

Post  janezee on 11/14/2011, 12:48 am

Fabulous suggestions, milaneyjane!
j

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Re: SFG Project - Elementary School

Post  sfg4uKim on 11/14/2011, 11:32 am

Those are great ideas.

I hope I didn't make it sound like I started the project. The project
idea was birthed by one of the county agencies and they gathered a group
to help. I was actually brought into the project by the director of
the senior center my mom goes to (I'll be doing a project there next
year too) which is why I specified that SFG was only "part of the project". Embarassed

The advantage this project has is that it will also be incorporated into their summer school so it will continue to receive care during those months.

Parks & Rec was there to help with the fencing and water supply.

Planning & Zoning to make sure laws are followed and because they regulate community gardens. (Plus the gal is a master gardener)

Health & Human Services - to plan nutritional info and to hold cooking classes since they've found that people just don't know what to do with fresh veggies any more.

Economic Development - because agriculture falls under them.

And a non-profit group called Grow Annapolis - they have planned other such projects for homeless shelters, etc.

As you can see this was a WONDERFUL group for me to get to know, and I'm SO grateful Nancy (the sr. ctr. director - who falls under Dept. of Aging) suggested the group include me.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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sfg4uKim

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Love the"demonstration garden" idea!

Post  yuliad on 11/18/2011, 6:22 am

I love your "demonstration garden" idea! I was looking for the "chip" way to introduce Botany through gardening to children. I am working in a small private school, and our policy is do not bother parents with extra money requests because they already pay lots of money for their child education.

I fell in love with SFG, and "demonstration garden" will be my way of doing it. I am thinking children can have their personal gardens, but for the class I can get one box that wider and has wheels. We have lots of squirrels outside that dig everything we plant. This way children can roll the garden in and out the class.
I am so excited!
Thank you for the idea!
I LOVE THIS FORUM!!!

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Re: SFG Project - Elementary School

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