Schoolyard Gardens Program

by Groundwork Somerville, Inc.
Spring planting in Healey School
Spring planting in Healey School

Schoolyard Gardens have been BOOMING!  Starting in April, the seeds were planting by our Spring Garden Clubs, and they have not stopped all summer! We have seen some of the biggest zucchini and eggplant, and just now, hundreds of cherry tomatoes are ripening on the vine.

We are really excited to be getting this healthy local food to our students, as well as into the brand new, affordable, Mobile Farmers Market organized by the City of Somerville. In addition, our Green Team (see our other project) has been harvesting the gardens to help the Summer Camp at Healey School maintain these thriving urban oases.

The Gardens are at 8 locations throughout Somerville in every elementary school, including Edgerly, Argenziano, Kennedy, West Somerville, Winter Hill, Brown, Prospect Hill Academy and the future East Somerville Community School.

Healey Garden
Healey Garden

The Schoolyard Gardens Program unites school communities through the production of high quality organic local produce and participation in enriched nutrition, biology, ecology, agriculture, and economic education in Somerville. Through Schoolyard Gardens, Somerville Public School students have the opportunity to plant and harvest their own food.  Groundwork then uses that experience as a catalyst to empower them to make decisions that positively affect their own health and the health of the environment.  The Schoolyard Gardens curriculum, which complies with Massachusetts Education Standards, focuses on children in kindergarten through 8th grade and reaches over 400 students per year. 

Also under the umbrella of Schoolyard Gardens are two garden related programs run outside the public school system.  Groundwork oversees a Spring Break Camp at the Somerville Community Growing Center and Nature Workshops at three branches of the Somerville Public Library.

In 2011, Groundwork offered Schoolyard Gardens in 9 schools each season, and reached over 450 students.  The program also provided opportunities for 26 weekly-committing volunteers to assist in seasonal school garden programming and many additional opportunities for one-time volunteers to engage.  

Links:

SomerGreen Festival 2011
SomerGreen Festival 2011

When folks ask us how things are going in the school gardens, we answer, “Busy!”

  • Twenty one 2nd and 3rd graders gathered in the Growing Center from April 19th-22nd for the “Spring into Action!” April Vacation program.  They planted veggies, stayed warm with a lot of running and active play, visited Gaining Ground Farm in Concord, and prepared their own healthy lunches.  Check out the photos and recipe book available on the program page.
  • Twelve “Dig Spring!” after school Garden Clubs are in full swing at nine sites across the city!  Students have kept busy planting seeds, examining flowers, pretending to be pollinators, beautifying their school grounds, and playing plenty of garden-themed running games.  Our last day of after school programming is June 10th.
  • Summer plans are starting to solidify – keep your eyes on our calendar to find out about eco-themed children’s workshops at the libraries this summer.  They will be free and open to the public thanks to the Friends of the Somerville Public Library.  If you run childrens’ programming and would like to host a Groundwork Somerville nature-themed workshop, contact tai@groundworksomerville.org!
  • Want to learn more about the school gardens? Check out our program’s page.

Thank you for all of your support! Please spread the word about this amazing program and continue to support creating a more sustainable Somerville!

Thanks for your interest in the Somerville Maple Syrup Project, here are some updates and reminders that take us through the end of the season:

  • **Last chance to order a Limited Edition T-Shirt!**  Please email me your size by Tuesday (tomorrow) at 8pm to get the 2011 edition! They cost $12, and all proceeds will support the Maple Syrup Project.  The t-shirts are in standard unisex sizes from children's small through adult extra large and are maroon with goldenrod yellow ink. They feature art from several artists (of all ages) illustrating their favorite parts of the Somerville sugaring experience.  
  • Thanks to the over 40 supporters who attended the tapping event: the gorgeous weather rewarded us, causing sap to flow out the freshly drilled holes before we even hung the buckets! Thanks to the Tisch College Civic Engagement Fund for helping support sap collection and boil down activities.
  • Save the Date: The Boil Down Festival will be on March 5th from 10am to 2pm at the Somerville Community Growing Center.  Please find the poster attached - feel free to post it and help spread the word!
  • Join us on Facebook!  Attend the event and invite your friends
  • Have 7-9 year olds?  Check out the Library Workshops that are happening each Saturday in February at the Library.  Thanks to the Friends of the Somerville Public Library for their support of this event

Links:


Attachments:

Every winter, with our partners at the Community Growing Center, the Somerville Public Schools, and Tufts University, Groundwork Somerville taps local maple trees and collect the sap.  Simultaneously, GWS staff and  community volunteers teach a four-week arts and science curriculum to second graders at several public schools.  The season culminates with a spectacular two-day boil-down event held at the Somerville Community Growing Center.  Metal shop students from Somerville High made the evaporator pan and maintain all the equipment each year.  The syrup is used at local pancake breakfasts, given as thank-you gifts to community partners, and sold at the GWS stand at the Union Square Farmers’ Market.

Recruitment for 2011 Maple Educators has begun! The 2011 Maple Syrup Project education component will run from Jan 21st-March 5th.  Do you have several hours free  during the school day on a weekly basis, care about trees or the environment, and like to work with elementary students?  Contact tai@groundworksomerville.org to learn more or reserve a spot.

Save the date: the 2011 Boil Down is scheduled to happen on the weekend of March 5th at the Somerville Community Growing Center!

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Join us on December 5th at The Independent in Union Square for the second annual Maple Syrup Project Fundraiser! Brunch will be served from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 20% of proceeds will be donated to the Somerville Maple Syrup Project! The seasonal menu will feature maple-inspired offerings such as Maple sausage Belgian waffle, Maple pancake breakfast wrap with scrambled eggs and bacon, French toast with honey crisp apple compote, and much more.  Seating is limited so reservations are highly recommended! Call 617-628-9988 and identify yourself as a supporter of Groundwork Somerville and The Maple Syrup Project.

To learn more about the Maple Syrup Project, please click here.

To view a flier for this fundraiser event, please click MSP Brunch Flyer 2011.  Thank you in advance for helping to spread the word!

To RSVP and invite friends, please visit the facebook event here.

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Groundwork Somerville, Inc.

Location: Somerville, MA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.groundworksomerville.org
Groundwork Somerville, Inc.
Project Leader:
Groundwork Somerville
Somerville, MA United States

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