Blog Archive

Monday, January 25, 2016

Michigan School Garden Newsletter Jan. 2016


January 2016

Happy New Year Michigan School Gardeners –


I hope you are reading your seed catalogs and planning this year's yummy garden with your students.  LOTS of math and science applications in planning the garden. 


LOTS of garden and education opportunities this time of year, so read up and don't miss out!




Greetings Michigan school gardeners—

MSU and local schools offer Garden to Cafeteria training

By Kaitlin Wojciak


Many schools throughout the state of Michigan have school gardens or hope to start one. An extension of school garden programming is using the garden produce in the cafeteria. Several garden to cafeteria practitioners claim that their students eat more produce when it is sourced from the garden. In Michigan we have a number of schools that are using the produce grown in their gardens in their food programs, and many more that are interested in learning how to incorporate their fresh produce in school meals and snacks.


Next month, the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is hosting an educational webinar with Michigan school partners and MSU Extension about starting and maintaining garden to cafeteria programs. The webinar will walk through practical and applicable steps of the Garden to Cafeteria: A Step-by-Step Guide and feature real examples from two school programs.


The two featured school programs are West Michigan Academy of Environmental Sciences in Grand Rapids and Detroit Public Schools. These schools will share their examples of how they organize and run their program, their challenges, lessons learned and success stories.


Other topics covered will highlight the contents of the Garden to Cafeteria guide. The webinar will walk participants through how to get started by understanding regulations, planning for food safety, assessing the current climate for this type of program and planning what to grow. The school representatives will draw on their experience from building community connections and local resources to support their efforts. One of the most important considerations in a sustainable garden to cafeteria program is the relationship with food service. The presenters will discuss some ideas for building this relationship and some options for communication and moving your produce into the school food program. Lastly, presenters will discuss options to keep your garden to cafeteria in operation for year after year through funding and sales.


If you, or any of your connections are interested in starting or growing your garden to cafeteria program, consider tuning in to the webinar. Details are as follows:


Date: Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Time: 2-3:30pm

Access link:

Call in number: 1-719-234-7800

Call in participant code: 690382

Michigan State University Extension supports garden to cafeteria efforts around the state, to encourage healthy students and abundant educational opportunities.


Starting and Sustaining a School Garden workshops in Jackson and Novi

By Kristine Hahn


Envision schools where all students go out into a garden for hands-on learning activities that correspond to and support the curriculum they learn in the classroom.  Teachers, administrators and volunteers can learn how to create and implement this kind of effective learning environment at the Starting and Sustaining a School Garden Workshop held Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm at the  located at Jackson Area Career Center 6800 Browns Lake Rd Jackson, MI 49201


Participants will learn from  Michigan State University Extension staff and local experts presenting on a variety of topics including Starting a School Garden Team, Best Practices and Curriculum Connections, How to Run a School Garden, and Food Safety.  Participants will also take part in several hands-on educational garden activities that they can then use with their students.  Moreover, there will be many opportunities to network and brainstorm with other school garden leaders and MSU Extension staff.  


The registration fee for the workshop is $75.00 and includes resource materials, morning refreshments, afternoon lunch, invaluable connections with industry experts and access to a Google Docs drive that has copies of the PowerPoint presentations and many additional resources.  Scholarships are available  – just contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590 or  Online registration for MSU Extension Jackson Starting and Sustaining a School Garden is open at


Online registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on the February 16, 2016.


There will also be a Starting and Sustaining a School Garden workshop at the Tollgate Education Center and Farm located at 28115 Meadowbrook Road, Novi, MI 48377 on Friday, April 15, 2016.  We will post more information and the registration website in next month's newsletter.


For more information about these workshops, or how your group can have a similar workshop at your location, contact Kristine Hahn, Community Food Systems Educator by phone at 248-802-4590 or by email at


School Garden Grant Information

It is the season for garden grants! Please see below for some newly opened opportunities.

We would always 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.


American Honda Foundation

Due dates quarterly, next one is February 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                                                                                       Apply online at



Captain Planet Foundation

Due January 31 for fall and winter projects

Schools and organizations that have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million are eligible to apply. Projects should be performed by youth and have real environmental outcomes.

Award range is between $500 and $2,500.

Apply online at this link



The Home Depot Foundation

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.


Lowe's Toolbox for Education Program

Spring 2016 cycle is due February 12th (or sooner if maximum application limit received)

Any individual, public K-12 school or non-profit parent group associated with a K-12 school is eligible to apply

Awards are $2,000 - $5,000

Apply online at this link



Project Produce Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools

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.


Youth Micro-grants through Karma for Cara Foundation

Rolling deadline, currently open

Youth under age 18 who are working on a community service project (including school and community gardens).

Awards are between $250 - $1,000.

Apply online at this link.


School Garden Educational Opportunities

  1. 4-H Junior Master Gardener Workshop

Who:  Extension staff, teachers and volunteers interested in Junior Master Gardening and the all new Learn Grow Eat & Go curriculum to use in schools, afterschool programs, 4-H and partner programs.  When and where:  February 26, 2016 at MSU Tollgate Conference Education Center, 28115  Road, Novi, MI 48377  Cost:  $30.00; Registration fee includes lunch

Here is the URL to use for  registration:

Registration deadline is February 17, 2016


The last date for online registration is February 16, 2016.  Online registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on the February 16, 2016.


  • 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 details will be posted in next month's newsletter, or contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590 or



Below is a notification about school garden curriculum development from an Education Master's degree student at Wayne State:


Hi.  For those of you who don't know me, my name is Kirke Elsass.  I need your help as I look for teachers in grades 6-12 to pilot garden-based science lessons specific to Michigan curriculum.


Over the last couple months, I've started creating a year's worth of science lessons using the middle school section of Michigan's K-12 science standards adopted this fall.


The lessons cover content, but they also build toward student planning, planting, and maintenance of a school garden. *** Some lessons are set outdoors and would require different weather than we have right now. But many lessons are in the classroom or could be easily modified to be indoors. ***


If you are a science teacher...

- and you still need to cover ecosystem content this year. Please check this set of lessons.  If there are any you might be able to pilot, feel free to use them and let me know what worked or didn't and what adjustments you had to make.

If you are interested in piloting a lesson at some point this year, send me an email saying "I'm interested"<>. That way I'll know it's OK to communicate with you more (such as offering to modify a lesson to your constraints or sending a reminder in the next couple months).

- and you still have content to cover this year that's not ecosystems. Please check this outline of units I plan to create. I have not completed all the lessons, but I would be happy to prioritize one for you. For example, I am now prioritizing cellular-level photosynthesis lessons so a high school biology teacher can pilot them. Check these lessons to get a sense of the form other lessons would take.


If you are not a science teacher...

- please forward this email to science teachers you know. And feel free to check out the lessons and outline above. Though you might not use them yourself, I hope you'd find them interesting just the same!


Any and all feedback and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


Kirke Elsass

Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow

Wayne State University





Kristine Hahn

Michigan State University Extension Educator

Community Food Systems

Eastern Market Office

1445 Adelaide

Detroit, MI 48207


248-802-4590 (CELL)

313-567-8726 (FAX)

NEW LOCATION and phone number


"We are what we repeatedly do.  Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit."  Aristotle


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