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Monthly news & updates
February 2023 | Issue #137
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Read ME Agriculture Sign Up Deadline February 10th!
Our "Read ME Agriculture" 2023 Program will be happening in March, focused on National Ag Week, the 20 - 24. This year’s book is  "Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera" by Candace Fleming with the incredible artwork of Eric Rohmann. Every classroom that participates will receive the hardcover book and accompanying Educator's Guide with 8 classroom lessons. 
To best serve the 1000 +/- classrooms throughout our state that participate in Read ME each year, the program will be a hybrid model where classrooms can decide the delivery method that works best for them. Options will include in-person and virtual readings. Classrooms can locate their own reader or ask MAITC to help. This is very similar to the successful model we started in 2021. Contacts may register their own classroom or schools may choose 1 contact to register multiple classrooms. 
MAITC is planning separate virtual sessions for grades PK - 1 and 2 - 4 this year. 
If you are interested, please complete this google form by February 10, 2023 and MAITC will contact you by email to fine tune your participation.

Please email us with any questions at: 
Upcoming Opportunities!
Calling all Garden & Food Educators in K-12 schools, to join this drop-in professional development space! Quarterly Garden Educator Curriculum Exchange Calls are a subcommittee of the Maine Farm to School Network.

The February meeting will be Tuesday February 7th from 3-4:30pm and will focus on sharing, planning, and peer mentoring for Late Winter/ Spring Garden Curriculum. Register here to receive a zoom link.
Earn continuing education contact hours as part of this FREE series focused on incorporating Maine's forests into the classroom. Each participant will receive an access code for Project Learning Tree's standards-aligned environmental education curriculum guide. 
Spring Schedule:
  • February 14 – Careers in Maine’s Forests
  • March 14 – Our Changing Forests
  • April 11 – Forest Conservation and Recreation
The NH Farm to School and the NH School & Youth Garden networks are hosting their 2023 Webinar Series for teachers, schools, and educators from across New England covering a variety of farm to school and school garden topics.
  • Orchard to School | February 9, 3:30-4:30PM
  • Farm to School Procurement | February 15, 2-3PM
  • Fresh Winter Cooking with Kids | February 20, 4:30-5:30PM
  • Funding School Gardens | March 16, 3:30-4:30PM
  • Gardening with Games and the Arts | April 6, 3:30-4:30PM
Join the Maine Nutrition Council for their next virtual educational event on April 6, 2-4pm: "The Other Big MAC: Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates and Gut Health." Learn about fiber and prebiotics for gut health with medical nutrition therapist, FODMAP expert, and author, Patsy Catsos
Two Main Points of the Presentation:
  • Humans and animal studies demonstrate that the type and amount of dietary carbohydrates consumed have a significant effect on the gut microbiome.
  • Gut microbiota signatures can be identified for health and disease; translation to practice is in its infancy, with unclear clinical significance for individuals.
2023 I LOVE Strawberries Educator Resource Grants
The purpose of these grants is to provide educator packs that include 1 copy of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year: I LOVE STRAWBERRIES, one copy of the accompanying educator guide, and one set of 30 Specialty Crop ag mags for educational use. By providing this grant, AFBFA, Nationwide Insurance, and Nestle Purina hope to help educators teach young learners with more accurate information about agriculture. Applications are due February 28th.

Spring 2023 Agricultural Ambassadors Program
Dates: Tuesdays, March 7 - April 18, 3:30pm-5pm, with an in-person celebration of achievement on April 20th
UMaine Extension 4-H created this program to provide agricultural education and leadership experiences to Maine youth ages 14-18. Youth involved in this program will have opportunities to pursue their interest in agriculture and explore career pathways. This includes mentoring in post-secondary opportunities, as well as sparking a passion to investigate and explore current issues around food systems, livestock, crop sciences, aquaculture, climate issues impacting food systems, food equity, and more. This program is open to all Maine youth with an interest.
Be Our Next Teacher Feature!!
We LOVE to feature outstanding teachers in Maine who are incorporating agriculture into their classroom!

Highlighting the great work teachers are doing across the state inspires all of us and sparks new ideas for grants, projects, and partnerships! 

Fill out this questionnaire to be our next Teacher Feature!!
Maine School Garden Day
Join us Saturday, May 13 at Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden, ME!
School Gardens–Connecting the Whole School Community
This year Maine School Garden Day will focus on the 3 C’s: Classroom, Cafeteria, and Community. RSU 22 is a participant this year of Maine Farm and Sea to School Network’s Farm to Sea Institute and is looking forward to sharing some of their initiatives with our community! Their new chef will be preparing lunch and highlighting local ingredients their students have been enjoying. There will be time for community connections, local procurement discussions, tours of the grounds and various garden workshops! Look for registration in MSGN's February Newsletter!
Summer Teacher's Institute 2023
Check out what previous participants have said when asked how their interest and confidence has changed as a result of attending our Summer Teacher's Institute:
Register Today for the
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Teacher's Institute!

July 31 - August 4, 2023
at University of Maine at
Presque Isle

28 Contact Hours or 2.8 CEU’s.

Scholarships are available!
Space is limited so register early!

Learn more on our website!
Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute - Applications Open February 15th!
The Maine Farm & Sea to School Institute is a year-long professional program for school food system change. The Institute brings school teams together to build relationships, skills, and a collaborative action plan for Farm & Sea to School programming. Team members leave ready to support one another and implement an FSTS action plan across their school or district—building shared leadership for the long haul. With the support of a Coach, teams spend the Institute year connecting Classroom, Cafeteria, and Community. Applications are open from February 15-March 15Learn more and apply here.
Opportunities to help your school garden
Back to School Garden Applications are now open!
The Back to School Garden program was created by ReTreeUS in order to align school gardens to the school calendar, solve issues associated with summer maintenance and maximize the production of nutrient dense produce for the cafeteria, all while providing endless learning opportunities. 
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.
Funding Opportunity!
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening are excited to announce the launch of the 2023 GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant! This grant will award a total of 160 programs $500 in funding to start or improve their youth gardens or greenspaces.
Any nonprofit organization, school district, university, government entity, or tax-exempt organization, like religious organizations and Tribal governments, in the United States and US Territories serving at least 15 youth are eligible to apply. Applications are due by February 10, 2023.
Purple Plow Pollinator Challenge
Challenge Question: What can we do to sustain or improve pollinator well-being?

Entries are due May 1st!

The Spring 2023 Purple Plow Challenge is here!
Pollinator populations are shrinking, and several factors are contributing to this disturbing global trend. There are growing concerns as to what the impact will be on food production. Through this challenge, students will become more aware of the important role pollinators play in our daily lives and how to help protect the various populations. After thoughtful research, students will design, test and demonstrate a solution that will sustain or improve pollinator well-being.
Harvest of the Month - February is Maine Root Vegetables!
Check out our Root Vegetables Resource Page for lessons, activities, books, and more!

Click here for the great Harvest of the Month (HOM) materials - posters, fact sheets, recipes, social media promo, and more!

Search the Ag Literacy Curriculum Matrix for even MORE resources!

All of our HOM Resource Pages can be found on our Teach ME site under "Teaching Units"
Teacher Resources Section
Four Seasons on a Farm. Grades K-2. Students identify the characteristics of the four seasons of the year, investigate what causes seasons, and observe the affects changing seasons have on farms.

Beautiful Food Brought to You by Plants. Grades K-6. Check out lesson 6 from the Cool Beans from Around the World nutrition curriculum - recommended for February, recognizing Chinese New Year. Cool Bean & Cultural Connection: SOY Bean & China-Chinese New Year. Nutrition Focus: Vitamins, Phytonutrients, Body Systems. Fun and engaging worksheets with recipes too!

Water Supply. Grades 3-5. In this lesson, students will observe the change of water states as it moves through the water cycle. This lesson has been newly updated with the addition of the Water Savers game.

Food Systems Feed the World. Grades 6-8. Students will explore the steps and processes that create a food system and gain an understanding of hunger as it relates to the physical well-being, culture, and geographic location of all people. Students will learn what a food system encompasses, create a "food system chain," and discuss why hunger still exists despite modern advances that have made the US food system highly efficient.

Earth's Land and Soil Resources. Grades 9-12. Students discover that topsoil is a nonrenewable resource and use an apple to represent how Earth’s land resources are used. Through critical thinking, students study agricultural land use and consider the sustainability of current land use practices including the use of land to feed and graze livestock animals.

Object-Based Storytelling in the Garden. Grades K-12. Objects evoke memories, emotions, and ideas and can be used as inspiration to express our thoughts and feelings. In this lesson, young gardeners use objects they find in the garden or in a natural space to help them create a story that shares a lived experience.

Looking for more? Explore the Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix HERE
Activities & Resources
Food Facts: 7 Reasons to Eat Insects. When discussing world food supply, hunger, or agricultural sustainability discuss the idea of eating bugs as an alternative protein source. How does it compare to other forms of nutrition in terms of protein, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids?

Soil, Not Dirt. Follow Rebecca Lybrand on a digital journey to connect soils, plants, and climate. Rebecca, a soil scientist explains some of her daily job tasks and teaches about soils in different climates and ecosystems.

Soil Health Education Resources. The Soil Health Institute Communications and Education Action Team compiled this catalog of soil health educational resources to help educators teach students and adults about the critical functions that soil plays in sustaining life on earth.

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.

Hen House Prototype. Creating a prototype is an important part of the engineering process. Adding paper circuits and fans to a cardboard model can be a cost effective way for students to build a prototype. The Hen House Prototype Kit contains copper tape, white LEDs, 3V coin cell batteries, hobby motors, and propellers. The kit contains enough materials for 12 small groups of students. Order this kit online from
Maple Curriculum Support: Tapping into Maple Tradition - Lessons for K-12 Classrooms.

Looking for field trips? Check out Real 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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