2020-2021 Look at Agriculture... Organically! Grants Recipients
La Primaria Elementary School, Los Angeles County
For the last several years, my kindergarten class has raised organic fruits, herbs, and vegetables in our own kinder-garden. It is the highlight of the entire school year for everyone! Our project would allow this year's students to continue mini organic kinder-gardens at home with their families. They would raise mini gardens of herbs that we would use later as part of an innovative organic farm to table cooking program I devised to carry on our agriculture program online.
Edna Maguire Elementary School, Marin County
To increase our perennial crops, lengthen our growing season, and start a legacy of greater variety in our garden, this grant will allow us to establish a new blueberry plot with 16 shrubs. As we establish this new crop, students will learn all about this North American native crop. Blueberries are an amazing crop that can teach children so much about soil needs, pruning, seasonal needs, and nutritional benefits. Blueberries offer a vast journey in the history of plant domestication. Our goal is to increase the perennial crops in our garden in a way to make the garden more manageable. Our 1-acre garden at the Edna Maguire Elementary School currently has 17 raised beds, perennial borders, and an orchard with 36 fruiting trees, a chicken coop, beehives, and a sheltered outdoor classroom.
Civic Center Secondary School, San Francisco County
Each week students will learn about organic agriculture in California and San Francisco. Students will grow food plants in containers at home and record these activities in a nature journal. During online classes, students will share about plant growth and vegetable recipes. Students will participate in virtual field trips to botanical gardens around the world. Students will first get supplies for making avocado toast with instructions to save the avocado pit! For each lesson students will have the opportunity to create a unique container plant. For example, when learning about native plants, students can plant Three Sisters seeds in a decorated container.
Kimbark Elementary School, San Bernardino County
This grant will allow our students to participate in drive-thru gardening, a program where families can drive to our campus and stop at learning stations along the way. At each station, an educator will greet families and share 1-3 minutes of gardening education. Families can learn more about gardening and its health benefits for the earth and for us. As they leave the school site, they will be given a bag of seeds, pots, and soil so that they can go home and plant their own healthy garden.
North Country Elementary School, Sacramento County
This grant project will provide students with a Social and Emotional (SEL) connection to agriculture. Each student will be instructed on how to grow herbs at home like parsley, cilantro, and basil. In the classroom, I would grow the Three Sisters to connect with Native American history, SEL concepts, and nutrition. North Country School has a garden area for transplanting and growing, but distance learning and guidelines for distancing has hindered the visit to the garden and may continue to be limited. Instead I plan on having plants at home and in the classroom. I would show students the plants during live streaming from the classroom. Students would receive their own plants as herbs in containers to grow at home and keep a journal of plant development.
Christa McAuliffe Middle School, San Joaquin County
Our goal is to create an outdoor classroom utilizing our school garden which will be available to all teachers. I would like my agriculture and garden craft club students to decorate the fencing around the garden and create decorative artwork for the garden. The curriculum for the class will involve organic gardening techniques including, composting, weed control, natural pest control, heirloom seeds and propagation. Other subjects covered in the garden will include botany, nutrition, art, reading, writing, research and at-home gardening projects.
Lee Middle School, Yolo County
Our project will create a robust and sustainable vermicompost system for teaching the science about vermiculture and how it is used in modern agriculture. Students will be responsible for the worm care and the maintenance of the vermicomposters. Lesson objectives will include worm behavior, its life cycle, anatomy, nutrition, and the worm’s effects on the soil. Students will learn about the worm’s importance to agriculture, the ecological cycle, and the food chain. The vermiculture unit will integrate with the plant and soil sciences units through laboratory experiments. Students will study how moisture, light, pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium influences the vermicompost and the conditions used in soils for plant growth. Organic farmers from Capay Valley will visit the class. Worm castings will be used to improve the nutrient content of the soil in our school garden as an organic fertilizer.
Out of State Recipients
RCMA Wimauma Community Academy, Florida
This grant would support the continuation and expansion of our school’s organic garden. We use native Florida plants/flowers, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and traditional herbs representative of our school’s diverse cultures to educate students in K-8th grades about organic agriculture through project-based learning. Our project also includes the expansion of our student-designed aquaponics system which provides innovative opportunities for students to develop solutions to real-world agricultural challenges. Additionally, this project includes the maintenance and development of our chicken coop. Our chickens are hatched and raised by students on campus. They learn about the life cycle and care of poultry, as well as how they are utilized for pest control in our organic garden.
Clear Dot Charter School, South Carolina
We will create a self-sustaining, organic urban farm that promotes healthy eating and sustainable farming practices. To supplement the existing urban farm, the school seeks to add a small pond and duck to the enclosed garden area to study to role of waterfowl in agriculture and food production. Students will be able to compare wild and domestic waterfowl, chickens and ducks, and the domestication and husbandry practices required to breed ducks. Students will gain an understanding of how ducks contribute to the food chain and what ducks are used for. The students will also harvest duck eggs and learn how to cook with them. A pond will be installed to create a habitat for the ducks and will teach students about freshwater ecosystems and native aquatic plants.
Quincy Junior High, Illinois
We want to convert and old greenhouse into a fully functioning garden so that our students can learn how to both grow and prepare healthy meals. We have a Home Economics lab with seven kitchens in it, so we can have classes to show the kids how to prepare simple healthy meals using mostly the produce that we grow. We want to make salsa, salads, and slushies using fresh fruit. We believe that the kids will take the knowledge that have back to their homes, encouraging the family to start gardening for their health and wellness.
McCleskey Middle School, Georgia
Our goals for this project are to immerse our 7th grade students in the process of organic farming and upgrade our school garden. We would like to add a composter to our garden so that we can utilize clippings and other natural waste materials to be able to produce fertile soil for the garden. In addition to a composter, we would also like to introduce many earthworms to the gardens. We would like to create a pollinator garden which would help to sustain our new organic garden by inviting pollinators into our area with the intention of having them pollinate our organic garden. We will purchase organic seeds and additional organic soil to use to plant during the winter/spring season. Finally, we will build garden benches to enhance our outdoor classroom.