MICHIGAN SCHOOL GARDEN NEWSLETTER
Holiday Edition November & December 2015
Happy Holidays Gardeners!
Don't forget to ask Santa for all those lovely garden supplies ;) And take advantage of all the wonderful seed catalogues showing up in your mailbox – they are great tools for planning 2016 gardens and for doing activities with your students.
Kaitlin and I hope you have a joyous and safe holiday season. Looking forward to new gardens & growing in 2016!
Greetings Michigan school gardeners,
Don't Miss Out on School Garden Resources!
By Kaitlin Koch Wojciak
As you rake the straggling leaves in your yard and savor the last tomatoes of the year, planning next year's school garden is likely not the first thing on your mind. Rightfully so! If you follow the school garden article series – the last one was all about how to put your garden to bed and let it rest over the winter.
This article was written to shift that mindset and share that you will have more access to resources if your school garden team starts planning for next year now. While it may feel premature to mentally skip over the upcoming winter and start envisioning what you'll be planting in the spring and what you'll need for a successful garden – that's exactly what we recommend that you do. This is because the majority of school garden grants are open right now, and into the early winter of 2016. This requires you and your school garden team to be planning for 2016's garden.
This seemingly odd timing is due to grant cycles. Funders need time to accept applications, review and vet proposals that they would like to fund. Many school garden grantors receive hundreds of applications and need a healthy window of time to properly review them. In Michigan, the ideal time to receive your garden grant money is in the spring, as you begin building, expanding or preparing your garden. In order to distribute grant moneys to align with spring activities, funders need to receive proposals in the early winter.
Many grants have deadlines from late October to early January. A digestible list of garden grants is shared monthly in the Michigan School Garden Newsletter, which is shared through the MI Farm to School email list. If you are interested in receiving Farm to School and school garden information, you can sign up for that list here, under the heading "Link to Local Food".
If you are interested in doing further research on available grants, try Garden ABCs, America in Bloom or Kids Gardening, which keep an extensive (although not comprehensive) list of garden grant opportunities.
Despite the busy season, planning your school garden ahead can result in numerous benefits. You may be able to incorporate more participatory planning with students, thread themes of the garden into lesson plans throughout the winter, build garden stakeholder support and garner more resources for the collective garden vision. You might even consider working with your school food service director to plan how to serve garden produce in your school food programs
PLEASE tell us what you want & other educational opportunities
By Kristine Hahn, Community Foods Systems Educator
Every year my Extension colleagues and I offer an all day workshop called "Starting and Sustaining a School Garden". Last year we offered the workshop in Traverse City and at the Tollgate Education Center and Farm in Novi.
This year we will be offering the workshop in Jackson County on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 and again at the Tollgate Education Center and Farm in Novi on Tax Day, Friday, April 15, 2016.
I started distributing a survey last year to get input from the people that work in school gardens on what types of training and resources they needed and wanted. I figure the best way to give you what you need is to ask YOU. I am distributing a survey again this year, and we will design our workshop based on the information we will receive. So, please, click on the link below and give us your input on what types of training and resources would be the most meaningful for you by completing the brief survey.
I know your time is valuable, so the survey is only 17 questions long and SHOULD TAKE ONLY 10 MINUTES TO COMPLETE. There will be even less time involved if you do not yet have a garden at your school.
I will be happy to share the results with you and welcome your feedback. So please help us out and take the survey at the link above. If you can, please save the date of either Wednesday, February 24, 2016 for the Starting and Sustaining a School Garden workshop in Jackson or Friday, April 15, 2016 for the Starting and Sustaining a School Garden workshop at the Tollgate Education Center and Farm in Novi. The flyer and registration information for both will be available when you return from the holiday break on January 5, 2016.
Please give us your input even if you are not planning on attending the workshop – the more information, the better! I've also added a few more educational opportunities below the School Garden Grant Information. And, as a holiday bonus, I've included an article from the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative. Enjoy!
School Garden Grant Information
We would love to hear about your garden grant stories, awards or applications! Please feel welcome to write us with them so we can highlight your experience in the newsletter.
Due dates quarterly, next two are August 1 and November 1
Schools, nonprofits classified as 501(c) (3) s and private or public schools (elementary and secondary) are eligible.
Award range: $20,000 - $75,000 for one year
Due date: September 30th
Schools, nonprofits and other organizations are eligible, as long as they are exempt from federal taxation. Proposals must include three considerations: be project-based, be performed by youth and have real environmental outcomes.
Due date: September 15th
Certified, core academic teachers for grades K-12 that are interested in using agricultural concepts to teach core subject areas and enhance students' understanding of agriculture.
Award: Five $1,500 grants
Due date: December 31
Formal or informal educators who are using innovative projects to enhance herbal education in school systems, communities or in any public forum.
Award: One or two $5,000 grants
Community Impact Grants currently open
Schools and 501(c) (3) organizations are eligible.
Awards are up to $5,000
Apply online at this link
The Home Depot also has opportunities to match donations from local stores with nonprofits. Follow this link for more information on how to request a match.
Open date: June 1, 2015
Due date: October 2, 2015
Schools, nonprofits and community organizations are eligible with at least 15 children between the ages of 3-18. Proposed projects must be within a 50 mile radius of a Jamba Juice store. Awards consist of $100 in soil amendments and plants and $400 in gardening supplies. Apply online at this link
Open: February 1, 2015
Due date: None, distributed on a rolling basis
Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible. Must be submitted by district food service director.
These grants are $2,500 and can assist with offering educational activities in the lunchroom, encouraging students to try new veggies and fruits. Read more and apply online at this link.
2016 Grant currently open
Due date: January 8, 2016
Nonprofit organizations, schools, 501(c) (3) organizations, food banks, community gardens (and more!) are eligible.
Projects are to focus on food garden projects that benefit their community.
Awards are full or partial. Full grants are $300-400 in cash and remainder in seeds and garden supplies. Partial grants are $300 cash and $25 one year subscription to Kitchen Gardeners International garden planner.
Apply online at this link.
School Garden Educational Opportunities
SAVE THE DATE: Starting and Sustaining a School Garden / Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Jackson Career Center, 6800 Browns Lake Rd, Jackson, MI 49201 Registration information will be available January 5, 2016, email Kristine Hahn at firstname.lastname@example.org after January 5, 2016 for details and the registration link.
SAVE THE DATE: Starting and Sustaining a School Garden / Friday, April 15, 2016 at the Tollgate Education Center and Farm, 28115 Meadowbrook Road, Novi, MI 48377 Registration information will be available after January 5, 2016. You can email Kristine Hahn at email@example.com after January 5, 2016 for more details and the registration link.
Save the Date & Apply! School Garden Spring Break: April 1-3, 2016 Charlotte, NC
Join the National School Garden Program team as well as local community leaders and school garden
champions from across the country at Slow Food USA's first ever train-the-trainer school garden conference. Come and learn more about the Slow Food approach to school gardens, edible education, and school food and bring it all back to your community. Through a mix of hands-on workshops, field trips, and classroom-style training, we will provide information on our curriculum, projects and models, and give chapters and schools the opportunity to showcase their work.
Would you like to attend or nominate someone to attend? Please fill out this google form application or share it with your Slow Food network of teachers and school garden leaders. The application deadline is December 31st. Any questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan State University Extension Educator
Community Food Systems
Eastern Market Office
Detroit, MI 48207
NEW LOCATION and phone number
"We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle