Maine School Garden Intensive 2015: Plant Breeding, May 2

garden2015_2-1Maine School Garden Intensive 2015: Plant Breeding
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom: K–12 Educator Training Workshop
Location: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Winslow, ME
Date: Saturday, May 2, 2015
Time: 8 am – 3:30 pm

Building on last year’s superb seed saving intensive, this spring, members of the Johnny’s Selected Seeds plant breeding department, in collaboration with MAITC, will guide participants through the process by which your favorite vegetable varieties are developed. The Johnny’s breeding program uses traditional breeding methods, guiding the genetics of both self-pollinating and cross-pollinating crops by selecting and hand pollinating. Come learn more about where your hybrid and open-pollinated seeds come from and methods of developing your own new and exciting varieties, including hands-on pollination activities and exploration of curriculum connections at all levels.

The cost for the full day program is $35 ($45 after April 25) and includes “Local foods” lunch. Scholarships are available. All participants will receive Certificates for 6 contact hours or .6 CEU’s.

 Contact: MAITC at 287-5522 or


For more information:

Plant It, Grow It, Eat It: Master Gardener Symposium, March 21

Plant It, Grow It, Eat It: Master Gardener Symposium
UNH Cooperative Extension and New Hampshire Master Gardener Association
Location: Plymouth State University, High Street, Plymouth, NH
Date: Saturday, March 21, 2015
Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm
Fee: $60, $55 before March 15th

The annual Welcome Spring Symposium, sponsored by UNH Cooperative Extension and the New Hampshire Master Gardener Association, takes place Saturday, March 21, at Plymouth State University. The symposium is open to the public. The event, which runs from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., costs $55, and after March 15, $60.

One focus of the symposium is on school and community gardens, a way to engage students and communities in growing food. Learn how to plan a garden project, engage everyone in the process, prioritize needs, identify leaders, source funding, and maintain momentum. Jeremy Delisle, UNH Cooperative Extension Education Center coordinator, will also discuss specialized tools and production systems, including high tunnel production and other season extension techniques.

Alan Eaton, coordinator of UNH Cooperative Extension’s Integrated Pest Management program, will present “Meet the Beneficials – Natural Enemies of Garden Pests.” Most references on garden insects focus on detrimental pests and the problems they create in your gardens throughout the growing season. Once you learn to identify insects, you will discover hundreds of species that are busy helping your garden grow as predators or parasites of the “bad” insects. Eaton’s presentation will focus on the abundant beneficial insects found in gardens and how you can promote garden health through a reduction or elimination of pesticides.

Roger Swain, “the man with the red suspenders” best known for hosting the television show “The Victory Garden” for 15 years, will share his knowledge in a presentation called “Vegetables – From Plant to Food.” He will offer tips on growing vegetables, their culture, culinary advice, and storage/preservation methods, along with some special recipes.

Multiple vendors will showcase items ranging from gardening supplies to books, and participants can place bids on a multitude of gardening items in the silent auction. A buffet lunch is included in the price.

Register here or contact the UNH Cooperative Extension Education Center at, 1-877-EXT-GROW (1-877-398-4769).

For more information:

Serve Your Community, Become a FoodCorps Service Member!

foodcorpsThe application to be a FoodCorps service member is now open through March 31st! If you are looking for a position in which you can serve your community, help kids get excited about vegetables, learn new skills, and become part of a network of food changemakers around the country, then this opportunity is for you:

FoodCorps is a nationwide team of Americorps leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy. FoodCorps places motivated individuals in limited-resource communities for a year of public service, where they conduct hands-on food education, build and tend school gardens, teach cooking lessons, and facilitate the procurement of high quality local food into public school cafeterias. FoodCorps is currently in its fourth year of programming, with 11 month service terms running September through July.

FoodCorps Maine is hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and its partnership with local non-profit organizations throughout the state. In addition to spots in communities across Maine, we also have positions available in AR, AZ, CA, CT, DC, GA, HI, MA, MI, MS, MT, NC, NJ, NM, OR, and NYC pending funding.

In order to be considered for a FoodCorps service member position, you must:
• Be 18 years or older by the start of service (September 1, 2015).
• Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
• Hold a high school diploma, GED or equivalent.

For more information:

Farm to School/Institution/Plate Information and Networking Event, November 12

From Partners for a Hunger-Free York County:

Farm to School/Institution/Plate Information and Networking Event
Partners for a Hunger-Free York County
Wells Reserve, 342 Laudholm Farm Rd, Wells, ME
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
4 — 5:30 pm

We’re excited about our Farm-to-School/Institution/Plate Networking Event which takes place Wednesday, November 12th, 4-5:30pm at the Wells Reserve. Please register if you would like to attend (and receive a goody bag!) Highlights of the event include:

– Allison Hopkins, Vista/AmeriCorps volunteer presenting on the Healthy Pre-School Project
– Stacey Purcell from the NH Farm to School Project (a project of the University of New Hampshire and Seacoast Local
– Tyler Goodwin, Wells and Ogunquit Schools Food Service Director and Lynette Harriman, NOBLE, Berwick, Lebanon, and Massabesic School Food Services Director on how they are integrating farms and local foods in their districts
– YOU! We will be having an open conversation about how to promote local foods in schools, institutions, restaurants and can’t wait to hear your ideas!
– Informal networking and tasting of local yummies, including cheese from Cabot Creamery, mead from Maine Mead Works, and cider.

This will be a relaxed event that gives people a chance to share information, meet each other, and identify some steps for moving forward to support more school and farm (and/or restaurant/institution) connections.

Please join us – to register and reserve your spot:

For more information:

School Garden 101, October 21


University of Maine Cooperative Extension in York County is offering School Garden 101 this fall, beginning on Tuesday, October 21st. This series of 6 classes is geared for school teachers, school staff, and volunteers who want to build their skills related to creating and maintaining a successful school garden:

School Garden 101 Short Course
University of Maine Cooperative Extension in York County
Central School, 197 Main St, South Berwick, ME
Tuesdays, October 21, 28, November 4, 18, 25 & December 2, 2014
4:30 – 7pm
Cost: $60 (includes all classes & materials)

Participants will learn about and share means and methods of integrating the garden to the classroom and cafeteria. Each of the six class sessions will focus on a particular garden subject including composting, soils, seedlings and garden planning. Course participants will build an understanding of basic gardening principles; connect gardening principles to school activities and curriculum; and support the creation or enhancement of school gardens with ideas and planning time.

To maximize the benefits and experience, it is encouraged that several people (teachers, cooks, parents, librarians, etc.) from the same school community enroll in the course. 1.5 CEUs available upon successful course completion. Register online by Friday, October 17, 2014. Class limited to 20 participants.

Contact: Becky Gowdy at 1-800-287-1535 (in Maine) or 207-324-2814 or e-mail

For more information:


New Hampshire Farm to College Convening, May 1

SONY DSCFarm to Institution New England is sponsoring a New Hampshire Farm to College Convening at Colby Sawyer College on Thursday, May 1st — join farmers, distributors, food service management companies, students and other campus representatives to learn various ways to overcome barriers to local foods purchasing by colleges and universities:

New Hampshire Farm to College Convening
Farm to Institution New England
Colby Sawyer College, Wheeler Hall, Ware Student Center, New London, NH
Thursday, May 1, 2014
9:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Wheeler Hall, Ware Student Center, Colby Sawyer College, New London, NH

This event is intended to bring together farmers, distributors, food service management companies, students and other campus representatives to learn various ways the barriers to local foods purchasing by colleges and universities are being overcome. We will learn about how campus farms are selling to dining services, campus farms that are funded by dining services, institutions who buy local through a purchase order, contract growing, negotiation of vendor requirements, and more! The morning will feature presentations with time for questions, followed by a networking lunch, and then we will have small group discussions to explore potential pilot programs and partners.

For more information:

Northeast Farm to Preschool Forum, October 5

NH Farm to School in collaboration with several other organizations are hosting the Northeast Farm to Preschool Forum on October 5 at Dublin Consolidated School in Dublin, NH. This event is for early childhood educators, administration, food service and farmers.

Farm to Preschool Forum
Dublin Consolidated School, Dublin, NH
Saturday, October 5, 2013
9am – 4pm
Cost: $20/person, includes lunch, workshops and field trips

Join farmers and preschool providers for this full day forum and discover strategies for bringing joy and wonder to early childhood through agriculture. This full day gathering will give you tools for engaging children on a farm or in a garden, as well as tips for bringing agriculture into the classroom and/or meal and snack programs. Share activities, explore safety and risk, try kid-friendly recipes, and discuss the exciting intersection where seed to table meets preschool!

Afternoon field trips to nearby farms are included in the cost of registration. Field trips will be hands-on and activity-based, and are designed to provide you with ideas for bringing farm and food-based education to your students!

Workshop Topics
• Cooking with Kids and Setting Up Taste Test Programs
• Early Sprouts Curriculum
• Building and Maintaining School Gardens
• Panel of Successful Farm to Preschool Programs from across New England
• Financial and Material Resources for Your Program
• Cultivating Joy and Wonder in Young Children
• Setting up a Farmer Relationship for Visits and Purchasing Products
• Hands-on Classroom Activities

Afternoon Farm Field Trips
• Touchstone Farm
• Otter Brook Farm and Happy Valley School
• Brooks’ Side Farm
• Stonewall Farm

For more information:

Getting the Kids Involved — Kathy Gunst and The Outdoor Classroom in South Berwick

An interview with local chef and author Kathy Gunst about d her work with the program Outdoor Class in South Berwick, from the Portland Press Herald:

Q&A with Kathy Gunst

Through the program (Outdoor Classroom), how do you work at helping kids appreciate the connection between their food and the people who produce it? What has the impact been? Was there a memorable result?

The whole point of the program is to teach kids that food grows from the ground up, not in the grocery store. We strive to teach the kids about the joys of healthy eating. For instance I made smoothies recently with the Pre-K and Kindergarteners using a variety of local fruit and some exotic fruits. We learned about the concept of locally grown food and why it’s better. And we learned that you don’t need sugar to eat something sweet and delicious. The kids were so into creating their own recipes for smoothies and seeing how sweet and delicious blended fruit and yogurt and fruit juice can be–without a speck of processed sugar.

The connection is obviously made when kids plant a seed in dirt and water it and watch it grow. They then harvest the food and I come into school and we cook it. The entire cycle happens by the kids doing the “work” and reaping the rewards. There is no more direct lesson than that!

What is on the horizon for the project? Goals for the future?

The future of this program is to grow more food, get more parents and teachers involved, and continue the good work that had been started these last few years. It’s been deeply rewarding to watch kids who think they “hate” certain fruits and vegetables and watch them turn on to the glories of good, freshly grown food. We have also slowly changed some of the food served in the cafeteria. The goal is to integrate the food grown in the hoop house with the food served in the cafeteria. This is more of a long-term goal and one everyone at the school seems open to and excited about.

What challenges did you face, if any, when you developed the program?

The challenge is always finding the funds and keeping the enthusiasm going. Although with teachers like Kate Smith and others there is no fear this program will die. Read more…

Cows and Communities: How the Lowly Bovine Has Nurtured New Hampshire through Four Centuries

NH Ag in the Classroom is promoting three presentations in April by former  Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Taylor of his talk, ‘Cows and Communities—How the Lowly Bovine Has Nurtured New Hampshire through Four Centuries.’

“As children learn about the role of dairy farms in schools, their teachers, parents and community members can also gain information from Taylor’s program,” suggests the NH Ag in the Classroom newsletter, which is emailed to hundreds of teachers and other interested folks. “This talk explores the past, present and future role of dairy farming in the Granite State and the impact it has had on people and landscape.”

Taylor’s talks begin at 7:00 pm and are free, thanks to funding by the NH Humanities Council. Here are the dates and locations:

  • Monday, April 1, Weare Town Hall, 15 Flanders Road – co-sponsored by Weare Town Library
  • Wednesday, April 3, Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center, 928 White Oaks Rd, Laconia – co-sponsored by PFEEC.
  • Tuesday, April 30, Nottingham School, 245 Stage Road – co-sponsored by Nottingham School.