Blog Archive

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Re: October 2017 Michigan School Garden newsletter

There is a school in Traverse City called The Greenspire School which is based upon Place-Based Environmental Learning and Project-Based Learning.  They do projects in the 500 acre natural area they are sited in for the grand traverse bay watershed and they also have a greenhouse, school garden and commercial kitchen for students to cook in.

It is also Montessori inspired.

Sent from my iPhone

Michele Worden

On Oct 19, 2017, at 2:11 PM, Hahn, Kristine <hahnk@ANR.MSU.EDU> wrote:


October 2017


Hope everyone's pumpkins filled out in time for Halloween!  My esteemed colleague Kaitlin Wojciak is out on maternity leave, so we'll have a few other article authors until she returns!    




School Gardens are the Perfect Medium for Place Based Education


by Kristine Hahn


School gardens have many of the necessary and positive attributes of an ongoing project for Place Based Education.


I am planning to attend the Michigan Place Based Education conference next month hosted by the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition at Eastern Michigan University.  In preparation for the conference I did some background research on place based education and was pleasantly surprised!  School gardens and place based education(PBE) are just about a match made in heaven.


For those of you not familiar with Place Based Education (aka Place Based Learning), it is an educational structure that places an emphasis on connecting students to their community through long-term projects. Students are able to form a relationship with a specific ecological feature – like the garden – by repeated exposure that enables them to see how it changes over time.  Hopefully, students will develop an emotional bond to the garden or "their place" and inspire them to live more sustainably as adults.


According to David Sobel in the book Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities, by anchoring learning in the local community and environment, place-based education engages students, promotes academic achievement, and fosters citizenship and community vitality. 


An excellent example of a place-based education project was at Bingham Arts Academy in Alpena, Michigan where students worked with school educators and community partners such as the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NE MI GLSI) in creating a schoolyard rain garden with the goal of helping reduce water pollution in the local Thunder Bay River watershed.  Through this garden, students were able to explore and learn about many important concepts, such as the relationship between native plants and wildlife, pollinators, what makes a plant native, storm water pollution and much more.


School food gardens are also a well matched tool for the emphasis PBE has on "local".  After all, school gardens embody the local climate, crops and ecology while reflecting the local community.  


Regular visits to the garden for activities that highlight curriculum content allow students to form a relationship with a specific environmental feature in or around the garden.  The creation of positive relationships amongst all members of the school community is a foundation for student success.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464.


School gardens: The new "in" thing for schools

Research is proving the value of school gardens in and out of the classroom.

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Dixie Sandborn, Michigan State University Extension

The Michigan 4-H Children's Garden is located on the campus of Michigan State University.

While school gardens were once thought of as an "extra" busy activity and only for schools in warm climates, today they are in the mainstream. Research is demonstrating that, among other things, schools are using gardens in creative ways to improve academic test scores in science, math, social studies and art. Other benefits school gardens provide to students include:

According to "Benefits of School-Based Community Gardens," a resource of Denver Urban Gardens, school garden programs have a positive effect not only on students, but also on school staff, families and communities. Michigan 4-H and the Michigan 4-H Children's Garden are eager to embrace this innovative trend and work with Michigan State University Extension county staff, schools and partners to share the research behind this growing movement, inform others about tried and true best practices and introduce new, exciting programs.

One of these new programs is Texas A&M University's Learn, Grow, Eat and Go program. Learn, Grow, Eat and Go is the new research- and evidence-based curriculum project of the International Junior Master Gardener Program. It is an interdisciplinary program that combines academic achievement, gardening, nutrient-dense food experiences, physical activity and school and family engagement.

Additional information about the benefits of school gardens is available from:

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464.



School Garden Grant Information

  • American Honda Foundation - Due dates three times per year
    • 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
  • Captain Planet Foundation
    • Schools, nonprofits and other organizations classified as 501(c) (3) are eligible
    • Projects must: be project-based; performed by youth; have real environmental outcomes; be based in the United States.
    • Award range is between $500 - $2500. At least 50% matching or in-kind funding for projects is preferred.
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Alaska Fertilizer Companydue October 8th
    • Schools are eligible
    • Funds projects that will create or revitalize a garden that support local wildlife, healthy living, environmental education and STEM learning.
    • Award range is between $500-$2,000
  • The Home Depot FoundationCommunity Impact Grants currently open
    • Schools and 501(c) (3) organizations are eligible.
    • Awards are up to $5,000
    • 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 Charitable and Educational Foundation
    • Public schools are eligible
    • Awards from $5,000 - $25,000
    • Visit this link to answer preliminary questions and learn more.
  • Project Produce Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schoolsdistributed 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.
  1. Salad Bars to School Grant
    • Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible to apply. To qualify for a Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools grant, applicants must offer the salad bar as part of the reimbursable meal served in your district.
    • Schools use the award (approximately $2,955 value) to implement salad bars as part of their daily meal program
    • For more information and to apply, follow this link.
  • Target Field Trip Grants – Open from August 1, 2017 – October 1, 2017 (CST)
    • K-12 public, private or charter schools in the US that maintain a 501 (c)(3) or 509(a)(1) tax-exempt status
    • Must be submitted by a teacher, educator, principal, paraprofessional or classified staff of the above institutions
    • Awards are $700 to contribute to an educational field trip experience
  • Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant  Open from September 1stthrough October 31st, 2017 (CST)
    • K-12 Schools, 501(c)(3) non profits working in partnership with K-12 schools, or a 501(c)(3) non profit organization.
    • Awards are $2,000
    • Informational webinars are available at the above link
  1. Youth Micro-grants through Karma for Cara FoundationRolling deadline
    • Youth under age 18 who are working on a community service project (including school and community gardens).
    • Awards are between $250 - $1,000.


School Garden Educational Opportunities

·     SAVE THE DATE! JULY 27-29, 2018

2018 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) Conference + Hoʻōla ʻĀina O Māʻilikūkahi Youth Food Sovereignty Congress

The University of Hawai'i – West Oahu Sustainable Community Food Systems Program, the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association, the University of Hawai'i System Office of Sustainability and key community partners will host the 2018 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference and the Hoʻōla ʻĀina O Māʻilikūkahi Youth Food Sovereignty Congress on the island of Oʻahu from July 27-29, 2018.


Themes: Indigenous knowledge, decolonization and socio-ecological resiliency in agroecology and sustainable food systems education.

  • Save the Date: 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
    April 26-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
    Save the date for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
    coming to Cincinnati, Ohio, April 26-27, 2018! Hosted by the National Farm
    to School Network, The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is the only national gathering of
    stakeholders from across this movement, making it the premiere opportunity
    to learn, network and collaborate with likeminded leaders from across the
    country. Learn more and sign-up for updates at


  • GLSI 2017 Great Lakes Place-based Education Conference

The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative invites you to join us for the 6th annual Place-Based Education Conference. Come experience a three day conference designed to inspire and support a community of educators around the power of place-based learning.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM EST
Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM EST

Eastern Michigan University Student Center
900 Oakwood St.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

  1. MOFFA (Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance) Educational Opportunities
  • North American Association of Environmental Educators Professional Development






Kristine Hahn

Michigan State University Extension Educator

Community Food Systems

Oakland County Office

1200 Telegraph Rd. #26E

Pontiac, MI 48341


*Please note my new office location

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.  Michigan State University programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status.

"Always be humble and kind." - Tim McGraw


MIFARMTOSCHOOL is a listserv that links farm-to-school stakeholders and practitioners in Michigan, from school food service directors and school administrators to growers and distributors. Content posted to MIFARMTOSCHOOL does not necessarily reflect the views of Michigan State University or the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.

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