MA ag teachers workshop series to include renewables, local food links

Submitted by Debi Hogan

2007-04-27 12:52:18

[Among several workshops this summer, Massachusetts Ag in the Classroom has organized "Local Food and Renewable Energy," August 7, an introduction to solar greenhouses, no-till farming, photovoltaics, solar thermal systems, renewable fuels, and energy-efficient construction. -ed.]
Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom has put together a schedule of 15 Educational Summer Workshops on the Farm. These workshops may be taken individually or you may choose to participate in our 3 Credit Summer Graduate Course for Teachers. Please check out the schedule and workshop descriptions below and also help us spread the word about these great educational opportunities.

Join us for one of more of our summer workshops and try out some hands-on activities for the classroom while you explore local farms. Each workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers classroom-ready educational activities and focuses on a different area of agriculture with exploration of the work that takes place at that farm. The $30 fee for each workshop includes the educational program and tour, all educational materials and activities, and ten professional development points with a related classroom activity. Lunch is also included with ten of the fifteen workshop.


Sign up for our Three Credit Summer Graduate Course on the Farm, titled "Growing Agriculture in Your Classroom" It is offered in cooperation with Fitchburg State College

Beginning Workshop: Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Ending Workshop: Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Each teachers must attend at least six additional workshops on the farm (selected from the list below) during the summer, keep a note book and complete a class project that will be presented on August 15th. Each workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More details are below

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is please to announce our second summer graduate credit course in agricultural literacy training for educators. Using Massachusetts farms as your classroom, learn how agriculture can enhance your curriculum, enthrall your students and meet many MCAS requirements. This graduate course offers agricultural-literacy training through fun, hands-on study and investigation of agriculture education resources. It will assist new educators and those who want to expand their classroom offerings as they learn how to integrate agriculture into the classroom to create lessons and reinforce MCAS concepts

This Summer Institute, title “Growing Agriculture in the Classroom” will meet of Wednesday, June 27th and Wednesday, August 15th at the Brigham Hill Community Farm in North Grafton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each participant will also be asked to attend six additional workshops during the summer, selected from approximately 15 workshops on various agricultural topics offered at farms across the state. Participants must keep a journal of their summer agricultural journey and write an agricultural education unit, which will be presented at the final session on August 15th.

The 15 Farm workshops are now being developed and the list will be posted on this website as soon as it is completed. Workshops will cover topics such as Agricultural History; Aquaponics; Botany; Chickens and Embryology; Dairy; Energy Conservation; Economics; Farm Animals; Food Safety; Genetic Diversity; Marine Science; Natural Resources, Nutrition; Technology and more.

The fee for the eight-day course is $425 and includes all materials; farm workshops and tours; some meals, and three graduate credit credits or 67 professional development points from Fitchburg State College. Participants will receive a letter grade. Curriculum and MCAS standards covered by the lessons will be handed out as workshop materials. Each participant will be paired with a MAC Board members to give long-term access to agricultural resources and follow-up support.

Using Massachusetts Farms as your classroom, learn how agriculture can enhance your curriculum, enthrall your students and meet many of the MCAS requirements. Workshops offer hands-on, open-ended experiences, activities and resources related to a variety of agricultural topics. Participants will:
Learn that agriculture is a vital and important part of Massachusetts’ economy, community resources and history and then create community partnerships with local farms.
Learn how to use agriculture in your classroom to create fun and relevant lessons that reinforce MCAS concepts.
Strengthen your science background with fun hands on activities and use agriculture as the medium to teach science processing skills.
Receive resources and hands-on activities related to agricultural topics and learn how to use them in the classroom and outdoor setting.
Receive training in using various teaching technologies and website links where you can find answers to questions.

All Workshops run from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. All workshops are listed on our website at

Thursday, June 28
Food Safety, Farmstand and Fruit Farming
Ward's Berry Farm, Sharon
Thursday, June 28, takes us to Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon. Sample a variety of activities from the USDA Food Safety curriculum with classroom teachers Linda Rohr from Silver Lake Middle School in Kingston and Sharon Schuschen from Shrewsbury. Following a farm lunch, Bob Ward will take us on a hayride to tour the vegetable fields, small fruit plantings, greenhouses, farmstand and learn about the education programs on this dynamic family farm. (A USDA Food Safety curriculum and video is included). Lunch included.
Friday, June 29
Cranberries, IPM, Bogs and Natural Wetlands
Spring Rain Farm, East Taunton
Friday, June 29th takes us to Spring Rain Farm in East Taunton, where cranberry farmers Mary and Bill McCaffrey will introduce you to all the many aspects of raising cranberries in Massachusetts today. The overview will include growing cranberries, tools and equipment for cranberry farming, Integrated Pest Management, economics, bogs and natural wetlands, water quality, associated plant and animals habitats, health and benefits of cranberries. Tour the cranberry bogs and the pick-your-own strawberry operation and try out some activities for the classroom. (Bring your own lunch)
Thursday, July 5
Botany, Nursery Industry and Healthy Lawns
Tranquil Lake Nursery, Rehoboth
Spend Thursday, July 5, at Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth, learning about annuals, perennials, herbs and botany. Debi Hogan will take you through the gardens, greenhouses and growing fields showing a variety of plants and hands_on activities that are sure to be a hit with students in the classroom or garden. We'll also take a closer look at Healthy lawn practices and lawn alternatives. Nursery owners Warren Leach and Phil Boucher will also offer an overview of the nursery industry, the fields filled with 3,000 varieties of daylilies at peak bloom and a garden design business. (Lunch included.)
Tuesday, July 10
Chicken Breeding and Incubating in the Classroom
Middle School Teacher, John King’s farm in Townsend, MA
John King, family and consumer science teacher at the Edith Nourse Middle School in Lowell, will offer a workshop on incubating in the classroom. At his own farm in Townsend, he will set up an incubator, raise chicks and about the various breeds. We will look at technology and how to use data loggers to monitor the temperature of the incubator. We will also look at how to create a picture window egg. I will show how to candle eggs and have different stages in the incubator to show the different stages. John will offer an overview of the his own poultry breeding program and following lunch, we will travel to a breeder of rare and exotic breeds of poultry and see first hand the variety of birds that you can hatch in your classroom. (Bring your own lunch).
Thursday, July 12
Sustainable Agriculture and Local Foods
Verrill Farm in Concord with Education Program by Dole and Bailey of Woburn
Travel to Verril Farm in Concord on Thursday July 12. Converted from a dairy operation 18 years ago, this farmstand and bakery, vegetable farm and horse stable is managed by Steve Verrill and daughter Jennifer, who will share it with us. Laura Grabski and the staff of Dole and Bailey of Woburn will offer the morning presentation on Sustainable Agriculture and Local Foods. This company is dedicated to providing fresh, local free_range meat for restaurants, farmstands and up_scale markets. A lunch of local foods including Northeast Family Farm pasture raised beef is included. (Lunch included)
Friday, July 13
Dairy Farming and Making Cheese on the Farm
Smith Country Cheese, Winchendon
On Friday July 13th travel to Smith's Country Cheese in Winchendon. Dave and Carol Smith milk Holstein cows and make Gouda, Cheddar and Havarti award winning cheeses. The cheeses are sold at the farm, at Farmer's Markets and by mail order. Recently their son, Jim, and daughter, Jen, have joined the business. The Smiths have created a coloring book that will help you understand the business and a video of the cheese making will be presented to you at the workshop. In the afternoon dairy farmer Marjorie Cooper will present many facts about that wonderful animal, the cow, including the importance of good nutrition and the economics of figuring the price of a gallon of milk. (Bring your own lunch.)
Wednesday, July 18
Herbs and Botany
Hartman's Herb Farm, Barre
Spend Wednesday, July 18, at Hartman’s Herb Farm in Barre, learning about growing and using herbs and botany. Lynn Hartman will take you through the gardens, greenhouses and growing fields showing a variety of herbs and hands_on activities that are sure to be a hit with students in the classroom or garden. Enjoy an herbal lunch followed by a tour of the farm and the story of this unique family run herb and catering business. (Lunch included)

Thursday, July 19
Hydroponics and Aquaponics
Coonamessett Farm, East Falmouth
Visit Coonamesset Farm in East Falmouth on Thursday, July 19th. Located on 160-acre Coonamesset Pond on Cape Cod, this 20-acre farm and research location has been in operation since 1987. There are five greenhouses with aquaponics and hydroponics, farm animals and 10-acres of pick-your-own vegetables, berries, herbs and flowers. We'll spend the morning learning about the hydroponics and aquaponics operation which produces lettuce, greens, bok choi and other oriental greens for sale at the farmstand and the koi program. Following the lunch we'll tour the farm and learn about the education program with farm educator Lori Lieberman. You'll have the opportunity to view the "Little Sprouts" garden program for children ages 4 to 10, where children plant, maintain, and harvest their own garden while participating in various farm activities. (Lunch included)
Monday, July 23
Hydroponics and Farm Stewardship
Gateways Farm and Land’s Sake, Weston
Monday, July 23 takes us to Weston, where we’ll tour Gateways Farm and learn about this greenhouse operation, where Julie and Peter Hyde have been raising tomatoes hydroponically here for more than 25 years. Then travel to nearby Land’s Sake. Hydroponic farmer Jim Munger will provide an overview of the chemistry and process of hydroponics and will offer activities for the classroom. Make your own small hydroponics unit. Following lunch, we’ll tour Lands’Sake, an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to responsible stewardship of farmland and forests. Education Coordinator, Mary Spaulding will describe sustainable agriculture efforts, organic farm crops and pick-your own flowers. Meet the farm camp participants and learn about the education programs. (Bring your lunch.)
Tuesday, July 24
Gardening and Raising Farm Animals with Urban Youth in the Inner City, Focus on Chickens and Embryology
Nuestras Raices, Inc., Holyoke
On Tuesday, July 24 explore Nuestras Raices, Inc. in Holyoke. This sixty acre farm is an urban haven where youth garden and raise farm animals with an emphasis on those native to the Caribbean. Alice Armen who works at the farm under a grant from Umass will offer a chicken and embryology education program in the morning. Following lunch, youth educator Eric Toensmeir will introduce us to the youth, the animals, garden and the education programs. (Lunch included)
Thursday, July 26
Modern Plant Propagation Methods with a Focus on Tissue Culture
Nourse Farm, Whately
This workshop takes us to Nourse Farm in Whately, we’ll explore Modern Plant Propagation Methods. Learn how the small fruits and vegetables are produced, stored, packed and shipped across the country. You'll try your hand at tissue culture and tour the cold_storage packing, shipping and greenhouse facilities. Following lunch, we'll tour the 400 acres of growing fields and pick_your_own strawberry operation with owners Mary and Tim Nourse. (Bring Your own Lunch)
Monday, July 30
Heritage Breeds, Sustainable Agriculture and Youth Education through Americorps
Manda Farm, Plainfield
Visit Manda Farm in Plainfield where owners Anna Hanchett and Michael Kalagher will introduce their variety of farm animals, focusing on raising and preserving rare heritage breeds. Discover the role of local and sustainable agriculture in the future of our food supply and the health of the environment. Learn how a small sustainably run farm can provide you with a wealth of lessons in every subject of study. Meet the Americorps group from neighboring Hawley and learn about their work in conservation and teaching. Help gather and create a delicious lunch from food raised at Manda Farm. Dress in clothes suitable to participating in some farm chores. (Lunch included)

Wednesday, August 1
Community Supported Agriculture and Organic Farming
Red Fire Farm, Granby
On Wednesday, August 1, travel to Red Fire Farm in Granby. We'll spend the morning focusing on vegetable farming, farm animals, identifying and managing weeds, organic agriculture, wetlands and environmental connections to the farm with activities for the classroom with Lenore Paul fifth grade teacher from nearby Veterans Park Elementary School in Ludlow. In the afternoon, we'll tour the organic farm and farmstand with owner Ryan Voiland, learning about Community Supported Agriculture, organic farming, marketing and the more than forty types of vegetables and fruits, including fifty varieties of heirloom tomatoes, grown on this fifty-acre farm. (Lunch included)
Tuesday, August 7
Local Food and Renewable Energy
Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center, Orange
Join us on Tuesday, August 7 at Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center in Orange. Deborah Habib will introduce local food and renewable energy. Experience solar greenhouses, no-till farming that builds healthy soil, solar electric and hot water systems, renewable fuels, energy efficient construction, and activities to integrate local food and energy into the curriculum. (Lunch included)
Tuesday, August 14
Pollination, Beekeeping, Fruits and Vegetables
Cook's Valley Farm in Wrentham
On Tuesday, August 14th travel to Cook’s Valley Farm in Wrentham. We’ll spend the morning focusing on beekeeping and pollination with activities for the classroom with Ken Oles, beekeeper and retired 5th grade teacher. Following a farm lunch, investigate this twelfth_ generation, 90_acre farm, originally a grant from the crown to the Cook family. Meet owners Warren and Marilyn Cook as they tell the farm’s history, transition from dairy and chicken farm to a farmstand with 30 acres of vegetable, small fruits and fruit trees. (Lunch included)
You can sign up for an individual workshop, for the Graduate Course or request a brochure by contacting me:

Debi Hogan
Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom
P.O. Box 345
Seekonk, MA 02771
Debi Hogan

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