Saturday, June 30, 2012

Funding Our Farm

It is amazing how far our school farm has come in one short year. With support from our school community, local business and organizations as well as our school district, we have really begun to make an impact on our community and most importantly our kids.

There is of course a "Farm Team" that takes charge in planning and organizing all aspects of the farm. Our team consists of many different people with a wide range of talents. The team is open to anyone who would like to participate, so we are constantly changing for the better. We have an architect, a teacher, a go-getter task oriented mom (who keeps us organized and on task when we meet), a grant writer, a couple avid gardeners, an artist (for our cute tshirts, signs and murals), a butterfly expert, a writer (for the many articles that are submitted to local papers and media), a nutrition-minded parent, and all of the members on the team want our kids to be healthy, happy kids.

In addition to the  support of our farm team and community, we have been able to access a wide variety of funding and donations from many different sources. There are so many resources available for nutrition and education these days, that we have received just about everything that we have asked for.

Many garden nurseries and home improvement stores are glad to donate plants and seeds. They typically have a request form that you complete and they are happy and helpful to work with you. There are endless resources on-line when you search education/nutrition/school garden grants. If your school is considered a low income school, then you are much better off as far as accessing the many grants that are available for your school population.

Our school and PTA help support and fund our farm as well. Many students have birthday parties where they invite their whole class. Their parents thoughts are that they don't need a million more toys in their house, so the kids ask their party guests to bring donations for the farm. We have received many tools, gloves, gift cards and all the seeds and plants that we needed to plant our beds for our first planting this spring.

We have also had some cute fundraisers. At the beginning of the year, we sold seed pots that kids could purchase and start their own plants as well as build excitement about our farm.

We also made and sold Fall scarecrows that we got at the dollar store and jazzed them up with ribbons and flowers.

At our Fall carnival, we sold "Adopt A Worm" boxes that contained a couple worms for the kids to begin to learn about worm composting and to add to their gardens at home.

 Our school holds an auction each year and the Farm Team donation was for 25 kids to come to a farm party. The moms that donated the party served healthy salads and snacks. They also had a "stamp your stump" station where each kid could write their name on one of our tree stump seats in our garden and then their name was wood burned into the stump.

At our year end farm celebration, we sold seeds that we had been snipping or dead-heading from the flowers in our garden. We also sold bags of fresh herbs from our harvest.

It really takes a dedicated team to get things off the ground and running, but support from your community and a little creativity can get things fast tracked to a bountiful garden harvest!

1 comment:

  1. What an absolutely outstanding, totally inspiring program! Kim, you have the energy of a hundred -- the kids and their families are lucky to have you. Your program will enhance your students' lives in so many ways -- ways they won't even know until years from now. But what a great impact!