Farm-to-School and Seed Swap

Mr. Thurston and Mr. Tanguay, just got back from presenting their garden team’s work at the Statewide Farm to School Conference at Chewonki Institute in Wiscasset. They had the honor of presenting with a panel of school Ag. experts including Jon’s former teaching partner and seed saving legend, Neil Lash of Medomak Valley H.S.’s Heirloom Seed Project

After lunch, Jon and Steve presented their team’s own work in the THMS Garden Project to around 140 snow tough New Englanders, all interested in bringing local food and the learning that comes with it to their own school communities.  They showed 500 slides of students learning/ working in the garden through the past year, shared their successes with Hoop House growing and made a strong case for bringing local, fresh food into our schools. They were followed by Tony Geraci, Executive School Food Service Director, First Course presented his talk on “Sustainable Collaborations: Building a Successful Farms to Schools Program.” Tony turned his district’s financial food problems around into a large profit center by serving local and/or fresh foods also making the case for strengthening your school through buying local programs.

Maine Harvest Lunch

MaineSeedThe next day was 2008 Seed Swap and Scion Exchange at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity. It’s called the most wonderful flea market in the world. Not only that but most of the best stuff is free! We got some new willows and grape vines to try. The Maine Tree Crop Alliance, the Maine Seed Saving Network, Fedco and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association host the annual combined Seed Swap and Scionwood Exchange. This year they offered a selection of interesting educational workshops such as grafting techniques and basics of seed saving.

All are encouraged to bring any seeds, scionwood, or cuttings you have to share freely with others. It’s a great way to keep the old varieties going and to catch up with some of the top growers in the State. We even got some T-shirts for the students

Restoring the buy local mandate

Growing things is the greatest way to learn that every action has a consequence: ….”Besides its gardens own unique gift of health and happiness, growing things…has the same moral values that belong to craftsmanship. It takes the nonsense out of you, and the egoism. It makes you settle down and work patiently with things as they are. It brings home as nothing else does…..that every act has a consequence, that whatever happens to you to-day follows, as the night the day, from something you did formerly. At any time in gardening, what you get to-day, or suffer to-day, is the result not of today’s actions, but of what you did some time back. You didn’t spray the potatoes last June. Now, in October, the potatoes are rotten. You carefully dug in the manure last April, and tested and feed the soil. Now in July you are feasting on green peas. You neglected to cut off your expensive new tea-rose as directed and mulch it dwn. Your rose is dead. It is not for nothing that great statesman have been farmers….that a sound and thrifty farming population is the backbone of a sound state.”

“The Art of Leisure”, latest edition 1935, by Marjorie B. Greenbie

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