MAC Newsletter

Fall Greening the School Conference on November 9
Annual Winter Conference

LOOKING BACK ON MY 30 YEARS WITH AGRICULTURE IN THE CLASSROOM IN MASSACHUSETTS!

By Marjorie A. Cooper, President of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom and Founding Member

It was the early 1980s when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John Block, announced the beginning of Agriculture in the Classroom and asked each state to develop a program. The entire agricultural community found the idea of connecting with classrooms and teachers very appealing. I was just one of many farmers/educators from across the state who was enlisted to help draw up a plan for this exciting new ag-education program for Massachusetts.

It was an exhilarating and promising time. Federal and State Departments of Education wrote Memorandums of Understanding with Departments of Agriculture. Our MA Commissioner of Education signed a MOU with our Commissioner of Food & Agriculture, Fred Winthrop. In 1983, a Declaration of Intent for our new organization was signed by Governor Dukakis on a nice June Day in Boston, when many were there to celebrate agriculture across the state and there were even cows on the Common. The MAC Committee, led by Janet Christensen, hosted a fund-raising luncheon at the restaurant over Cheers. 4-H Leader John Sterling served as our first Chairman, connecting MAC with lessons developed by FFA and 4-H for program guidance.

The USDA had a budget allowing for a few employees. They held conferences in Washington, D.C and shipped boxes of ag-education materials, written by USDA employees to the state committees. Regional meetings soon developed and there was much collaboration between the states. Each morning, when I returned from milking cows, there would be mail to answer and telephone calls to return.

MAC managed to raise funds and entered into a contract with UMass Amherst. We engaged Dr. Barbara Koech, a recent graduate of the School of Education, to write curriculum and offer workshops. After she relocated to Kenya with her family, we moved across campus to the School of Natural Resources, engaging Wayne Hipsley as a 4-H/MAC representative. He continued to offer workshops and lessons for several years until the costs of maintaining an office at UMass exceeded our meager means.

MAC soon rebuilt. Jim Munger proposed a new Mini-Grant program in 1992. Teachers who have received these small grants have created model programs and now teach others. In 1995, Debi Hogan became our Education Coordinator, working with the Board to introduce a newsletter, workshops, conferences, lessons, school garden education and more to build the program that we have today. We remain indebted to all of our partners -- farmers, teachers, board members and those early leaders.

Believing that this new organization would fill a void in education, a committee was formally established that summer, chaired by State 4-H Leader John Sterling. Together they developed a model whereby MAC would work with teachers to incorporate agricultural concepts into the existing classroom instruction. This integration was formalized in the fall of 1982 when Commissioner Winthrop sought and received an endorsement from Commissioner of Education John Lawson, who delegated representatives to serve on MAC’s committee.

With the partnership between the departments of agriculture and education established, the committee moved to the creation of lesson plans that teachers could use to integrate agriculture into their classrooms. Dr. Barbara Garner Koech of UMass Amherst was hired in 1983 to develop curriculum. Later that same year, Governor Michael Dukakis signed a “Declaration of Principles” for “Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom”, officially establishing the organization as an entity in the Commonwealth. In 1984, the U. S. D. A. made “Agriculture in the Classroom” a permanent program of their agency.

Throughout the 1980s MAC worked to develop instructional units for teachers to use in their classrooms and offered summer institutes for teachers. Through the 1990s and continuing today, MAC expanded program offerings and outreach to educators. Today, MAC annually provides resources and professional development training for thousands of educators across the Commonwealth, through our popular programs including: three annual conferences, a graduate course, workshops on the farm, three educational newsletters, mini-grants, garden-based resources and mentoring, teacher awards, manuals and more.

MAC's President Marjorie Cooper in the early days. She has been involved since 1982, and was one of the founding members of this important educational organization that celebrated 30 years in 2013.

 

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

It was another busy year for MAC as we continued the quality programs that teachers have come to expect, while expanding our outreach. In July, we introduced a new Summer Conference, with all workshops connecting the classroom to the school garden. The conference was an overwhelming success. We are now planning for the summer of 2014.

Last year we began a collaboration with Connecticut Agriculture in the Classroom to expand our annual Winter Conference, offering thirty-two workshops across four sessions to help bring agriculture from the farm to the classroom. The 2014 Massachusetts/Connecticut Winter conference will be held on Saturday, March 8. Our school gardening efforts continue to flourish. We developed three new How-to-Guides for the School Garden, added 20 garden-based lessons with agricultural extension and mentored twenty new school gardens thanks to funds from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture.

A grant from the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board sponsored four dairy-based lessons for the elementary grades, four dairy workshops and mini-grants to four high school educators. The Eastern and Western Massachusetts Trustees of Eastern States Exposition are sponsoring children activities and promotional materials for the 2014 Big E, and the Massachusetts State Grange awarded a grant to sponsor MAC’s education programs. We send our gratitude to all of these sponsors for their generosity and faith in MAC, and also thank the farmers and teachers who are an integral part of our educational programs or send donations to support our efforts.

"WHO GRE MY SOUP?"

MAC is happy to announce that, through a special printing by National Agriculture in the Classroom, we will be selling copies of “Who Grew My Soup?” by Tom Darbyshire as a fund-raiser to support our educational programs. It tells the story of young Phineas Quinn and his questions about the vegetable soup his mom serves for lunch. Phin declares he won’t slurp a single spoonful until he knows the answer to such questions as “Who grew these carrots? Who grew these tomatoes?”

This previously unavailable book is being offered in a soft-cover edition, and can be purchased from MAC for $15 with an additional $3 for shipping and handling. This is a great way to support MAC and also to add a useful resource to your classroom, school library or local library. Send to MAC at P.O. Box 345, Seekonk, MA 02771

WIN A TRIP TO THE BIG E!

MAC and the Massachusetts Trustees of Eastern States Exposition are partnering to promote the 4th Annual Massachusetts Agri-Science Excellence Award. The winning teacher will receive recognition in the MAC newsletter, a plaque and award ceremony at the Big E, a classroom grant of $200, and a trip to the Big E with busing and tickets for his/her students for September of 2014. Click here for the application and guidelines.The application is due February 14.

Three additional bus trips and tickets to the Big E will be awarded - one to any teacher in Western Mass. and two to urban teachers in Eastern Mass., courtesy of the MA Trustees of the Big E. To apply, send an e-mail to MAC with your name, school, grade and a brief description of how the trip to the fair will benefit your students. Send by February 14. Awards will be notified in March.

MINI-GRANT SUMMARY 2013

The MAC Mini-Grant program awarded $8,625 in 2013 to support the eighteen worthy agricultural education projects listed below. Each year MAC awards mini-grants, usually in the amount of $300 to $500, to teachers and schools. The deadlines for proposal submissions are the first of April, September and November. We encourage any Massachusetts educators to submit a proposal to enhance their education program. Click here to read more about our mini-grants, review guidelines or read about past winners.

 

THE GRANGE
AN AGRICULTRAL RESOURCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

By Christopher Szkutak,
MAC Technical Associate & Massachusetts State Grange Legislative Director.

WHAT IS GRANGE?

Many communities in Massachusetts have Grange Halls located in them, but unless you have had interactions with the organization inside you may not know exactly what the Grange is and what this noble organization does. The Grange is a family community organization with its roots in agriculture. The National Grange, or the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, was founded in 1867 by Oliver Hudson Kelley, a farmer and clerk in the U. S. Post Office. He was joined by six colleagues, William Saunders, Francis M. McDowell, John Trimble, Aaron B. Grosh, John R. Thompson and William M. Ireland. Later, Caroline Hall, Kelley’s niece, was recognized as the eighth founder for her contributions to the founding.

Following the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson sent Kelley to survey the damage that was done to southern agriculture as a result of the war. Seeing the destruction, both to farms and to society in general, Kelley realized that in order for the nation to fully recover from the devastation of the Civil War, people in the North and South would need to see each other as members of one large family. To this end, he began a plan for a fraternity of farmers (both men and women) that would serve not only as an educational and social organization, but would also bind people from across the country together for a common purpose. On December 4, 1867 the National Grange was born in Washington, D.C. The ideas set forth by the founders of the organization caught on quickly and membership increased steadily, reaching a peak of 858,000 members by 1875.

Oliver Hudson Kelley, founding member and First Secretary of the National Grange

The Grange first appeared in Massachusetts on June 17, 1873 when Guiding Star No.1 was organized in Greenfield. Over the next five months seventeen more Community Granges were organized across the state. On December 4, 1873, representatives from the eighteen separate Community Granges met in Greenfield and organized the Massachusetts State Grange. Grange membership continued to grow and hit its peak of approximately 51,000 members in Massachusetts in 1949. Though membership is not at that point now, there are currently 55 Community Granges in Massachusetts with an aggregate membership of more than 2,000.

The primary interests of the Grange have always been agriculture and community service. Education about and promotion of agriculture are at the heart of the mission of the Grange, as well as working for the betterment of our communities. The Grange has been responsible for leading the charge on many significant issues throughout its history. Such important achievements as Rural Free Delivery of Mail, Suffrage for Women, and Right to Farm laws have all been part of Grange advocacy. Here in Massachusetts, it was through the efforts of Grange members that the American Elm and the Chickadee became our state tree and bird respectively. The State Grange was also actively involved in the first Arbor Day celebration in the state in 1885. In Massachusetts today, Granges are probably most connected with agricultural fairs. Many Granges throughout the state hold their own fairs in the fall or collaborate with local community fairs. These fairs include local agriculture, crafts, and baked goods. The Grange also has a strong presence at the Big E in West Springfield with the New England Grange Building housing artifacts, as well as a general store that sells items produced by Grange members.

1873 Grange Promotional Poster

 

Although the Grange is active on the national and state level, the backbone of the organization is the community Grange. These local chapters meeting regularly, at least once a month, to discuss issues affecting their community, plan events or service projects. They also offer special programming, such as educational speakers or demonstrations of homesteading techniques. Grange membership is open to anyone older than 14, with special membership and programming available to those 5 to 14 years of age.

Historically, the Grange was one of the first organizations that gave an equal voice to women as well as to men. Women were allowed to vote and hold office in the Grange 60 years before they received the right to vote nationally. Young people also have a place in the Grange. They are allowed to vote and hold office once they reach the age of 14. All Grange members are treated equally whether age 14 or 87. At all levels of the Grange there are special contests and programs for young members age 14 to 35 that foster leadership development. There is no requirement to be a farmer for Grange membership. The primary requirement is the desire to work to make a difference in the community. There are committees within each Grange for people who want to get more involved or are interested in agricultural or legislative issues, but also for people who are interested in doing community service work.

A Reproduction of a Promotional Poster of a Grange Meeting
based on a Historical Painting.

GRANGE ROOTS INITIATIVE

In October 2013, the Massachusetts State Grange launched the “Grange Roots” initiative. This new program encourages Granges to become more involved in agricultural education in their communities. Many Granges are already very active in local agricultural programs, but this new initiative is meant to highlight these programs and create the opportunity for greater community involvement in Grange activities and vice versa. Examples of programs local Granges may be doing as part of this initiative are programs on canning, seed saving, making cheese, connecting with bees, starting seed libraries, getting involved in community gardens, farmer’s markets, and more. For more information about “Grange Roots”, visit Mass. State Grange website at www.massgrange.org.

GRANGE: A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

by Christopher Szkutak

I officially joined Northborough Grange, No. 119 on July 14, 2002, but my involvement with the Grange started long before that. My family became Grange members in the 1940s. Though they were not farmers, they were interested in the community activities that Northborough Grange had to offer. My grandparents become more involved at the local level and eventually became very active at the state level. A year after I was born, my grandfather was elected as Massachusetts State Grange President. Due to my family’s active involvement, some of my earliest memories are of attending Northborough Grange dinners or the Annual State Grange convention. Even at a young age I saw the important work the Grange was doing at the local level, so when I turned 14 it seemed like a natural fit for me to become part of the fourth generation of my family to join Northborough Grange.

I joined the Grange because of my family connections, but I have stayed a member because of the positive impact the Grange has had on me as person. If it were not for the mentors I have had and the opportunities for public speaking that I have participated in, I would likely not be a teacher. As a young member I have seen how my ideas can have an effect on the National Grange policy. Last year I wrote a resolution to suggest a National Grange policy change that passed at my community Grange, then passed at the State Grange and was brought up for discussion at National Grange. That is one of the beauties of the organization. All state and national Legislative Policies and changes to by-laws start at the local level. As a grassroots organization, the local units are just as important as the National Grange. My involvement in the Grange has also provided me with an opportunity to learn more about agriculture and the legislative policies and laws that affect farmers. Though I have always had an interest in politics, the opportunity to learn from farmers and non farmers, has brought about a greater understanding of agriculture and made me a stronger advocate for agricultural-related issues. I have also been given the opportunity to give back to my community. Through community service projects, like raising funds for DCF or donating dictionaries to local third graders, I am making a difference.

My Grange membership has also given me leadership training that will help me in my future career. In 2009, I was selected as the Massachusetts State Grange Youth Ambassador and had the opportunity to represent Massachusetts at the National Grange convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There I had the opportunity to witness the deliberations of the National Grange and attend many workshops where I learned to hone my leadership skills. While attending National Grange, I was selected to be the National Youth Ambassador and represented National Grange at many different events. These experiences have made me a more confident person and helped me to better see the pathways that are available to me in the future. I have never regretted my decision to the join the Grange. It is such an important part of my life and I look forward to continuing to work within the Grange in the future. When Northborough Grange closed in 2007, I transfered my membership to Uxbridge Grange.

WAYS TEACHERS CAN GET INVOLVED WITH THE GRANGE

1. Invite local Grange members to your classroom to discuss the history of their Grange and your community. In some cases, Granges have been actively involved in their local communities for more than 100 years, the records of the Grange might shed light on some interesting facts about your community.

2. Contact your local Grange to determine if their members have any agricultural specialities and invite them to share them with your class.

3. Attend an event at your local Grange. Granges hold many different kinds of events that vary with the membership. From film nights to guest speakers to legislative issue programs, Granges have special programming at their meetings that are always open to the public.

4. If you have a school garden or an agricultural program at your school, contact your local Grange and discuss giving a presentation about your program at their next meeting. This is a great way for your students to connect with people in the community who care about agriculture and will be very interested in what they have to say.

5. Invite Grange members to help you with your next agricultural project. Whether it is helping in your school garden, teaching students how to plant seeds and take care of plants, or helping to suggest different ways of preserving fresh food, depending on the membership of your local Grange there are many possibilities for greater involvement.

6. Visit the New England Grange Building at the Big E in West Springfield or Topsfield Fair to talk to Grange members about what they do and see a sampling of their crafts.

7. Scholarships for students going to college are available through the Massachusetts State Grange. Students must be a Grange member for one year to apply.

JOIN YOUR LOCAL GRANGE!

There are fifty-five Granges across Massachusetts. To find contact information visit www.massgrange.org or contact State President Matthew Johnson at statemaster@massgrange.org.

Abington Grange #57
Acushnet Grange #285
Anawan-Oakton Grange #221
Bedford Grange #283
Beverly Grange #306
Boxborough Grange #131
Bradford Grange #238
Central Comm. Grange #22 (Boylston/Westboro)
Charlton Grange #92
Chesterfield Grange #83
Community of Feeding Hills Grange #382
Dartmouth Grange #162
Dracut Grange #216
Dudley Grange #163
Dunstable Grange #31
East Freetown Grange #307
Easton Grange #196
Groton Grange #7
Guiding Star Grange #1
Hanover Grange #206
Highland of Huntington #48
Hinsdale Grange #19
Holden Grange #78
Hope of Hadley #15
Laurel of West Newbury #161\Nantucket Grange #378
New Braintree Grange #170
Norfolk Grange #135

North Orange #86
Norwell Grange #410
Petersham Grange #95
Pittsfield Grange #14
Ponkapoag of Canton #231
Prescott of Pepperell #73
Rochester Grange #257
Rowley Grange #204
Rutland Grange #242
Scituate Grange #389
Shelburne Grange #68
South Middleboro Grange #337
Southwick Grange #46
Sterling Shirley Grange #53
Stockbridge Grange #295
Sudbury Grange #121
Swansea Oakhill Seekonk Grange #148
Upton Grange #125
Uxbridge Grange #200
Ware Grange #164
West Boxford Grange #140
Westport Grange #181
West Stockbridge Grange #246
Weymouth Grange #387
Whately Grange #414
Williamsburg Grange #225
Williamstown Grange # 366

MASSACHUSETTS GRANGE FAIRS

Visit your local Grange fair! These fairs not only offer the opportunity to connect with your local Grange but also provide your students with the possibility to show some of the products they have grown in the school garden. Below you will find information about the Grange fairs in Massachusetts.

Dartmouth Grange Fair (Sept.)
Location: Patrons Hall in Historic Russells Mills Village
Contact: info@dartmouthgrange.org
Activities: Judged exhibits, displays by local organizations, food, country store, demonstrations, live animals, giant penny sale, carnival games, auction

Dunstable Grange Fair
(Third Saturday in August 2014)
Location: Town Common, Dunstable
Contact: Charlie Tully President Dunstable Grange at tulcows@aol.com
Activities: Judged exhibits, food, games & activities, crafts, live music, auction

Rochester Grange Fair (August)
Location: Grange Hall
Contact: sash48@comcast.net
Activities: Displays of fresh vegetables, flowers, canning, baking, handcrafts, ham & bean supper, auction

Shelburne Grange Fair (August)
Location: Fellowship Hall, Shelburne
Info: http://www.shelburnegrange.org/ shelburne-grange-fair.html.
Activities: Judged exhibits, crafts, food exhibits, flea market & chicken barbecue.

South Middleboro Grange Fair (August)
Location: Grange Hall, South Middleboro
Contact: 508-866-7845.
Activities: Exhibits of fruits, vegetables, flowers, canned goods, baked goods, needlework and crafts, baked goods sale and a bazaar.

Ware Grange Fair (August)
Location: Grange Hall, Ware
Contact: 413-284-1135.
Activities: Tag sale, bake sale, raffle, exhibits on display, ham and baked bean supper, and auction

Williamsburg Grange Fair (September)
Location: 10 Main St., Williamsburg
Contact Candace Smith, President at greyledge1@juno.com
Activities: Judged exhibits, food, auction

 

 

GRANGE TRIVIA

One program that is available to Grange members ages 16-21 is the opportunity to be selected as the State Youth Ambassador. The purpose of the Ambassador program is to provide an opportunity for youth to represent their state in and out of the Grange and to build their leadership potential. Each State Grange has the opportunity to send two Ambassadors to National Grange Convention as their youth representatives. As part of the requirements to qualify to attend National Convention, youth members must score an 80% or higher on the Grange Trivia Challenge. The Trivia Challenge encompasses Grange history, as well symbolism of different aspects of the Grange. Some of the questions found on this test are found below.

1) Which Grange founder designed the Gettysburg National Cemetery and National Mall?
2) Who is the Master/President of the National Grange?
3) Where was Oliver Hudson Kelley born?
4) When was the 5¢ National Grange postage stamp issued?
5) How many states were represented at the first regular delegate session of the National Grange?
6) What was the first State Grange?
7) In what state was the first community Grange chartered?
8) Who was the first Master/President of the Massachusetts State Grange?
9) Which former Massachusetts State President has a State Park named after him?
10) Who was the first female State President of the MA State Grange?

Answers: 1) William Saunders; 2) Edward Luttrell; 3) Boston, Mass.; 4) 1967; 5) 11; 6) Minnesota; 7) New York; 8) T. L Allis; 9) Charles M Gardner, C.M. Gardner State Park in Chester; 10) Kathleen M. Peterson (1997).


HOME ECONOMICS, GRANGE AND THE CLASSROOM

Due to the social nature of the Community Grange, home economics have always played a prominent role. In Massachusetts, this interest took greater shape when in 1929 the Massachusetts State Grange raised funds to purchase furnishings and other antiques dating to the Colonial period for the Practice House for Home Economics at UMass Amherst. The House was used by the University to teach homemaking skills that would be needed for modern life.

One of the most prominent examples of Grange involvement in home economics is the wide availability of Grange cookbooks. Community, State, and the National Grange have published cookbooks throughout the history of the organization and are frequently used for fund-raising. The Pennsylvania State Grange used cookbook sales to help raise the necessary funds to build the first girls dormitory at Penn State University in the late 1920s.

These volumes are filled with local or regionally popular dishes but also highlight the use of local produce. Many of the recipes can be useful in the classroom as they incorporate the fruits and vegetables grown in the school garden. Below are examples of simple Grange recipes.

Recipes

Cucumber Pickles
(N. Auburn Grange Cookbook, ME, 1919)

Ingredients:

1 gallon vinegar ½ cup salt
2 onions sliced thin 2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. favorite spices 2 tbsp mustard
Pepper to taste Cucumbers

Method:
Mix ingredients together in a large container. Wash cucumbers and put them in mixture. Stir from bottom once every 3 days at least 3 times. Good to eat in two weeks.

Applesauce Cake
(Oak Lawn Grange Cookbook, RI, 1914)

Cream together 1 cup sugar, ½ cup butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 cup raisins; dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 2 teaspoons warm water, add to a cup of cold apple sauce. Beat all together, then add 2 cups flour. Bake 45 minutes.

 

NOTABLE GRANGE MEMBERS

• President Franklin D Roosevelt, Chapels Corner Grange No. 872, New York
• First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Chapels Corner Grange No. 872, New York
• President Harry S. Truman
• Norman Coleman, First U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
• Norman Rockwell, West Arlington Grange, Vermont
• Krist Novoselic, a member of the band Nirvana, Gray’s River Grange No. 124, Washington
• Sarah Baird, First Female State President (Minnesota, 1895-1912)

GRANGE LESSONACTIVITY IDEAS

Have students research the “Granger Laws” and the Supreme Court cases that are associated with them (Munn v. Illinois and Wabash v. Illinois). How did these cases affect business in the United States? Are they still relevant to today?

Work with your local Grange and historical society to put together a history of agriculture in your town. What kinds of crops or animals have been traditionally raised? How many of those crops are still grown in town today?

Have students find out what kinds of activities the Grange in your area participated in at its founding. Why was the Grange founded in your town? Did it have a specific purpose? What contributions has the Grange made to your town? If the Grange has a hall, when was it built? Who built it? How did they pay for it?

 

GRANGE RESOURCES

Massachusetts State Grange
www.massgrange.org

Allbert J. Thomas Library Museum
State Grange Museum
425 Main Street Rutland, MA 01543

National Grange
www.nationalgrange.org

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
List of all major fairs in Massachusetts including Grange Fairs
www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/fairs-directory.htm

The New England Grange Building at the Big E
Eastern States Exposition
in West Springfield
www.thebige.com/fair/activities/ave_Grange.asp

The Grange Museum at the Topsfield Fair
http://topsfieldfair.org/grange.php

Grange Books and Resources

“Friend of the Farmer” by Charles M Gardner

“People, Pride, and Progress” by David Howard

“The Granger Movement” by Solon Justus Black

“Rich Harvest: A History of the Grange 1867-1900” by D. Sven Nordin

“Knights of the Plow” by Thomas Woods

“The Grange, 1867-1967: first century of service and evolution” by William Louis Robinson

 

“Origin and Progress of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry in the United States: A History from 1866 to 1873”
by Oliver Hudson Kelley

Information for this Teacher’s Resource was taken from the references listed above.

 

Thank you to the Massachusetts State Grange for supporting the development of this Teacher’s Resource on the Grange.

WORKSHOPS & CONFERENCES

Annual Winter Growing Minds through Massachusetts and Connecticut Agriculture Conference

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is sponsoring our 13th Annual Winter Conference for Educators at the Paul R. Baird Middle School in Ludlow on Saturday, March 8th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Once again this year, MAC will co-sponsor with Connecticut Agriculture in the Classroom. The conference provides teachers with activity ideas, resources and curriculum connections to link the farm and the classroom.

Four workshop sessions will be held during the day, with a choice of eight concurrent workshops per session. Each will be taught by a teacher, or teacher working together with a farmer, and will offer specific background and activities for either elementary, middle or high school. The $50 fee includes all workshops; breakfast snack and lunch from nearby Randall’s Farm, materials, and ten PDPs with a related classroom activity. Six workshops have been sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board. Scholarships are available for new and urban teachers and farm educators thanks to a Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement Grant.Click here for a full list of workshops, registration form and the scholarship information.

Day of Garden Skills Workshops & Demonstrations for the School Garden

Spend an educational and fun day brushing up on your gardening techniques and learning new activity ideas for the school garden on Saturday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth. Twelve workshops and demonstrations to support successful efforts in the school garden will be held throughout the day, including fall crops, cover cropping, food preservation, seed saving, soil testing, cold frames, etc. The workshop day is free. There is a $30 fee for those wanting professional development. This educational event is sponsored by the Massachusretts Department. of Agricultural Resources, Bartlett Tree Experts Companyand Tranquil Lake Nursery.

SUMMER GRADUATE COURSE

Course presented with Fitchburg State College. The course meets Tuesday, July 1 and Thursday August 14 in North Grafton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each participant will attend both sessions and participate in six additional workshops on the farm. The fee for the three graduate credits, eight workshop days, materials and meals is $500.

NATIONAL AGRICULTURE IN THE CLASSROOM CONFERENCE

Mark Your Calendar! The 2014 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference will be held June 23-27 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA. The theme is: The Sweet Story of Agriculture. The conference offers hands-on workshops and mini-workshops; make-and-take sessions and tours, as well as the opportunity to meet and share ideas with other educators. For more information visit www.agclassroom.org.

LOOKING FOR OUR 2014 MAC TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Do you know a teacher who does an exceptional job of bringing agriculture to life for their students? Consider nominating him or her for the Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award for 2014. Send us a description of his/her agricultural classroom and the reasons for your recommendation for the award. Applications are due March 15, 2014 and will be announced in the autumn 2014 edition of our newsletter.

MASSACHUSETTS AGRICULTURE CALENDAR PHOTO CONTEST

Now is the time to start taking pictures for the 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Photos must be at least 4” by 6” and no larger than 8” by 10” and must have been taken in Massachusetts in the past three years. Send photos of local rural scenes, farm animals, and more by June 1 to Photo Contest, Mass. DAR, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114. For more information, e-mail to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us. The twelve winners will be featured in the 2015 Mass. agriculture calendar and posted on MAC’s website. For details visit www.mass.gov/agr/.

Calendar of Events

February 26 & 27 - Ecological Landscaping Conference, in Springfield, visit www.ecolandscaping.org.

March 5 - MEES Conference at Holy Cross in Worcester. Theme Environmental Literacy for the Next Generation. www.massmees.org.

March 8 - Urban Farming Conference, Northeastern University, Boston at www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/events/.

March 22 - Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference 8-4 in Worcester, visit www.massconservation.org.

March 26 - Massachusetts Agriculture Day at the State House. For info. e-mail to agpromoboard@mfbf.net.

April 17 - Massassachusetts Sustainable Communities & Campuses Conference, Lowell at www.masustainablecommunities.com.


May 15 - Massachusetts Envirothon, environmental education competition for High School students at Sholan Farm, Leominster. Current Issue Topic is Sustainable Local Agriculture in Massachusetts at www.maenvirothon.org.

Garden Education Workshops for community & schools at www.bostonnatural.org/gardeneducation.htm.

 

RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS

2014 Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Energy & Environmental Education. Apply on-line at http://commpres.env.state.ma.us/exedu/

BirdSleuth K-12 Activities for Feeding Birds from Cornell ornithology at www.birdsleuth.org.

Ag Literacy Resources from American Farm Bureau at www.agfoundation.org.

Barn Again American History Resource with Lesson Plans and teaching guides from Smithsonian at www.museumonmainstreet.org/education/ And click on Barn Again! .

Key Ingredients about Food in Our Everyday Lives with Lesson Plans and teaching guides from Smithsonian at www.museumonmainstreet.org/education/ And Click on Key Ingredients.

Nutrition Voyage - 7-8th grade exploration into wellness at www.fns.usda.gov/tn/nutrition-voyage-quest-be-our-best.

Soil Science Teacher Resources at http://soils4teachers.org.

Maple Resources and Teachers Packet at www.mapleresource.com/educationalinformation.html.