The Growing Gardeners Program at Kingfield Elementary School happens during Community Time every Friday afternoon for eight weeks in the spring and fall with a school garden curriculum using the Seed to Plate concept incorporating science, social studies, math, and English language arts. Managed by kindergarten teacher Selina Greene Warren, the Garden Classroom consists of 8 large raised beds, a meeting area with stumps and a chalkboard/teaching space, benches and picnic tables for a workspace, a large outdoor pavilion for cooking or large group work, a compost program plus a new greenhouse.
In 2020, Kingfield Elementary School became one of the first Franklin SING (Schools Integrating Nutrition and Gardening) Schools organized by the Greater Franklin Food Council. In collaboration with the Franklin County Healthy Community Coalition and SNAP Educator Kathy Doyon, the students get the opportunity to cook healthy meals and snacks with their garden grown crops. Every week during the fall garden program, they feature a crop from their garden and experienced nutrition educators teach the students how to use what they grew to prepare healthy meals and snacks.
As a celebration at the end of the school garden season this fall, the school community was invited to the 8th Annual Family Harvest Meal where this year families could create and enjoy pizza in the garden space. Students collected tomatoes and made pizza sauce, prepared several garden vegetable choices for toppings the day of the event, and then worked with their families to create their own pizzas. The dough was donated by The Orange Cat Cafe and ricotta cheese was donated by Crooked Face Creamery. Morgan Dunham, owner of the Orange Cat Cafe and Kingfield Town Selectwoman, brought her family members and a wood fired oven to cook the pizzas for the school community. The event was held in the Garden Classroom, over 150 community members came and enjoyed not only the meal grown and prepared by the students but also a raffle and Farmers Market Table to raise funds for the school garden. There was also an obstacle course, field games, and story walks organized by PE teacher, Jillian Withee, adjacent to The Garden Classroom.
We are also pleased to share that Selina was recently selected to be the 2023 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year! Congratulations, Selina!
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