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Monthly news & updates
December 2021 | Issue #123
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Back to School Garden Curriculum Connections Virtual Workshops
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom is holding two virtual curriculum workshops focused on materials and lessons to connect school gardens to your classroom curricula. Lessons will be modeled and books and resources will be highlighted. Participants will receive One Contact Hour for each session and a set of digital resources and classroom materials mailed to them following attendance.

The workshops will be held via Zoom on: 
Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 3-4pm
Tuesday, January 4, 2022 from 3:30-4:30pm 

Please register by completing this google form for one or both sessions, and to receive the Zoom link(s). 

Questions? Email MAITC at:
Our Dairy Farming for ME book is available on our website. You will also find lessons and other activities to go along with it! More dairy resources can be found on our Dairy Harvest of the Month Resource Page, as well as through a search on the Ag Literacy Curriculum Matrix.
You can view a recording of the recent Maine Farm to School Network Dairy Farmer Panel here, and access the accompanying Maine Dairy to School Resource Packet.
MAITC is pleased to announce another brand new Maine virtual fieldtrip video “Dynamic Dairy” with Jenni Tilton-Flood as your host. After watching the 10 minute video Pre-K to 12th grade classrooms may schedule a ZOOM visit with Jenni to answer students’ questions! Sessions will be available from December 1 – 16, 2021 or later in January 2022.
To schedule email: 
NEW - Maine School Garden Exchange - Google Group
A great new resource for school garden educators! This group is intended to help Maine school garden supporters exchange resources. It is intended as a place where people can not only share digital resources, but also physical. Items that you have in surplus and want to give, sell, or trade may be listed. Join here.
Virtual Field Trip Opportunity for Middle School Classrooms!
WHEN: Friday, December 10th
WHAT: Virtual Field Trip - Seasonal Science: Exploring Nutrient Needs for your Winter Traditions
There are so many winter traditions, finding that perfect poinsettia, eating that juicy orange or picking out the perfect tree. Before those things were ready to go home with you, they relied on healthy soil to grow. Nutrients for Life invites middle school classrooms to join them as they visit farms from across the county and learn about the role fertilizer plays in some of your seasonal favorites.
Back To School Gardens
The Back To School Garden program solves major issues confronting school gardens, especially summer maintenance while generating abundant harvests for cafeterias and teaching students about essential garden-based lessons including: decomposition, soil building, successional planting and season extension.​ September is an ideal time to plant certain crops in Maine, such as salad greens, kale, chard, parsley, cilantro and spinach, that can fill cafeteria salad bars and food pantries in some instances. Preparation for this gardening technique starts in the spring before the school year ends with “sheet-mulching” of the garden beds using paper and compost that will eliminate weeds and increase fertility over the summer. The students can plant vegetables that grow through the summer, with minimal maintenance, that will be ready for harvest when they go back to school. After this harvest, beds are ready for the students to plant hardy seedlings that thrive for the months of September, October, November and December with season extending row cover (some of these seedlings survive through the winter in a greenhouse).
UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Building Agricultural Literacy Through an Immersive Culinary Experience Grant Update 
Culinary students in Houlton’s Region Two School of Applied Technology prepared a delicious apple crisp, as well as other meals, using ingredients from Maine. Students were split into small groups and tasked with using locally sourced ingredients to create their own custom meals to be served and sampled. Read more in this article: "UMaine chefs show Region Two students how to serve locally grown meals"
Next spring there will be grants available for Culinary Arts programs at career and technical education (CTE) centers to incorporate local foods. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon!
For more information about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s initiative to build agricultural literacy through an immersive culinary experience for career and technical education (CTE) culinary arts instructors, contact Kathy Savoie.
Maine Farm to School Institute!
The Maine Farm to School Institute is a unique opportunity to impact your entire community! It is a year-long professional opportunity for Maine schools/districts to develop a Farm to School (FTS) program. The Institute begins with a team self assessment, followed by the Academy Program where teams learn about the 3 Cs of a FTS program (cafeteria, classroom, community), discover the opportunities and resources in Maine, develop a vision for their FTS program, develop an action plan to implement that vision, network with other FTS champions, and receive guidance from an assigned Coach!

For more information and to view the timeline and commitment, check out the website.

To get involved in Institute planning or financially support the Institute launch, contact MFSN coordinator at
Harvest of the Month - December is Maine Winter Squash!

Check out our Winter Squash Resource Page for lessons, activities, books, and more!

Click here for the great HOM materials - posters, fact sheets, recipes, social media promo, and more!

Search the Ag Literacy Curriculum Matrix for even MORE resources!
National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference
Come with us to Saratoga Springs, NY!
June 28th through July 1st, 2022.

This conference is the premier professional development experience for teachers who use food and agriculture as a lens for learning to meet their academic goals.
Meet educators from across the country, choose from a full slate of workshops, hear nationally renowned keynote speakers and roll up your sleeves to discover ways of integrating agriculture into your classroom.

Maine AITC is planning transportation and teacher scholarships for the 2022 National AITC Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY!
If you are interested please respond HERE.
Teacher Resources Section
Discover Christmas Trees. Grades K-2, Grades 3-5. This lesson is composed of six learning activities to teach about the Christmas tree. Science, history, and geography topics are used to explore the history of the Christmas tree, life cycle of a conifer, types of trees and how they adapt, work on a Christmas tree farm, and the ecology of conifer trees. 

Food Master: Measurement. Grades 3-5. Students will learn where the ingredients in a cookie are made and make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to practice their measurement skills and fractional mathematics. 

Food Miles. Grades 3-5. Students will explore the economic and environmental benefits of buying locally grown food.

Ethnobotany for the Holidays. Grades 3-6. How do you combine history, social studies, geography, and science, and wrap in a bit of holiday fun? By exploring ethnobotany!

Discover Christmas Trees. Grades K-8. Curriculum Packet from Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. Contextualize your ELA, mathematics, social studies, science, and economics curriculum by teaching through the lens of agriculture and Christmas trees. Be inspired by both the experiential learning activities and the impressive history of these iconic conifers that impact our lives more than just one season a year. 

The Columbian Exchange of Old and New World Foods. Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12. Students will explore New World and Old World food origins to understand how the Columbian Exchange altered people's lives worldwide.

MyPlate, MyWin. Grades 9-12. Students will explore the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, compare and contrast historical food guides, and discover how to apply principles of MyPlate into their diet to create a "MyWin."

Looking for more? Explore the Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix HERE
In this video visit the largest Christmas Tree Farm in the world, learn about how Christmas trees are grown, and how to tell the difference between the three main kinds of Christmas trees.
Learn about the life cycle of a Christmas tree, why they are harvested by helicopter, and what it means for the environment in cutting them down versus an artificial tree.
Activities & Resources
The Maine Christmas Tree Association. Are you looking to buy a local tree or visit the Christmas tree farm nearest to you? The Maine Christmas Tree Association has a great search tool on their website. You can check them out on Facebook too!

Growing Up Evergreen. In this activity, students will explore how evergreen trees grow from cone to maturity by reading Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree? by Jennifer Blomgren and by making a bird feeder from a pine cone.

Value-Adding on a Christmas Tree Farm. In this activity, students will learn how to add value to Christmas trees by making scented pillows from balsam fir needles which can be used for gifts or potentially as a fundraiser for your classroom. Older students can also calculate the potential income from selling their value-added projects.

Christmas Tree Ag Mag. The Christmas Tree Ag Mag was written for elementary and middle school students. In this issue, students will learn about the origin of the Christmas tree tradition, discover different varieties of evergreen trees, identify pests that can damage trees, explore careers, and other fun facts. The ag mag includes specific statistics for North Carolina, the 2nd largest producer of Christmas trees. Visit the Interactive Map webpage to discover if your state produces Christmas trees. The reader can be viewed by students electronically on individual devices, as a class with a projector, or printed.

National Christmas Tree Association Educational Info. This website has a teacher's corner with great ideas for educators. You can also learn about the history of Christmas trees, different tree varieties, environmental benefits, holiday safety, the White House Christmas tree, and check out some puzzle and activity sheets for kids.

Chocolate Taste Testing. In this activity students will taste different types of chocolate to determine if price is an indicator of better taste. Chocolate is a New World food that is now beloved by cultures around the globe. Use this activity to engage students with lessons related to the Columbian Exchange, global trade, food ingredients, and food origins and processing.
From A total of 50 programs will be awarded Youth Garden Grants in 2022. All winning programs will receive a check for $250, and materials to grow their garden program.
Forty programs will receive packages worth $1,050, five programs will receive the base package plus a $1,000 tool grant from Corona Tools, and five programs will receive the base package plus two Garden Towers from Garden Tower Project!
Applications are due December 17, 2021. More information here.
ALL CATEGORIES are open for our December 13th deadline! Are you looking for funding to do more ag in your classroom?! Apply today!

More info and applications are available on the website.
Deadline: December 13th.
The 2022 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Open!
USDA expects to award approximately $12 million in competitive grants to eligible entities through the Farm to School Grant Program in FY 2022. Each grant helps implement farm to school programs that increase access to local food in Child Nutrition Program (CNP) meals, connect children with agriculture for better health, and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture. The grant RFA can be found here. Deadline is January 10, 2022.

Apples4Ed supports schools across the country with grant funding to supplement student nutrition and expose students to a wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Submit your school for grant funding for supplemental nutrition or programs that teach students how to make healthy choices.

Deadline is January 21, 2022.
Maple Curriculum Support: Tapping into Maple Tradition - Lessons for K-12 Classrooms.

Looking for field trips? Check out Get Real Get Maine's Food, Farms, and Forest Search

ReTreeUS plants orchards in schools and provides educational programs that empower people to be healthy environmental stewards.

See the Maine Farm to School Census here. Are you participating?

Maine School Garden Network provides resources and technical assistance for all school gardens across Maine!

Search the National Ag in the Classroom Curriculum Matrix for resources

Fuel Up to Play 60 offers educators a wide array of resources they can use to help students make sustainable changes in their school environment.

Agroworld is an agricultural science e-zine developed for the secondary educator.

KidsGardening has ideas about plants and gardens, teacher resources, and grant opportunities.

The Chop Chop magazine and website has easy and healthy recipes.

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has curriculum, games, and resources available for educators and students.

This document is a compilation of agriculture related resources to be used in virtual and remote learning.

Pictures, videos, and words are hyperlinked throughout the document.
Funding from this plate has impacted up to 200,000 students annually with lessons, materials, volunteers and teacher training. Annually up to $60K is distributed in grants to schools, FFA, 4-H and other Non-profit programs for Ag education initiatives by the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Council.
Donate today to The Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Association
The Non-profit, completely volunteer, portion of MAITC. These funds are used directly to support teacher scholarships and recognition, and support volunteer participation for Ag education programs. Your donation is completely tax deductible and you can make a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation which will support the mission, "to promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public." If you have any other questions or would like to join this group please contact the chairman, Maryjane StaffordDonate Here.
Our Mission Statement
"To promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public"  
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