May 2022: Let's get growing!
Dear Wisconsin Farm to School,

It's that magical time of year when the ground is thawed, the air smells like rich soil, and there's a sudden pop of color as chartreuse leaves unfurl from the ends of branches. 

And, of course, the start of fresh herbs from the garden or from local growers. Herbs are so versatile. They can be tasted fresh off the stalk or used as a local ingredient in a meal or snack. They can be used right away or dried and saved for colder months. Whether you're growing herbs yourself or enjoying herbs lovingly grown by a farmer, here are a few resources to make this spring taste extra fresh:
Don't have herbs but you're ready to start tasting spring with your students? This is also an incredible time of year for learners of all ages to start foraging! One of our favorite activities is a spring STEM lesson that is beautiful, fascinating and, of course, delicious. Check it out in our Announcements & Highlights section below.

Happy spring!

Renata Solan, Communications Director, Rooted/Wisconsin School Garden Network

Click below to jump to:

Throughout the newsletter, you will see these icons after descriptions of resources, funding opportunities, and more to help you find information that is right for your program:
Announcements & Highlights

Wisconsin School Garden Day is Thursday, May 19!

Let's celebrate the people and programs giving Wisconsin’s youth access to innovative, hands-on educational opportunities. You can participate in Wisconsin School Garden Day by engaging in some type of garden-based education activity or celebration on May 19, 2022 (or another day that week). Any activity that involves kids engaging with a garden or gardening–including, but not limited to, activities around planting, observing, art, literature, STEM, weeding, and planning–can be a way to celebrate Wisconsin School Garden Day. Learn more and browse the activity guide here.

WEBINAR: Practitioner Perspectives on the Mental Health Benefits of Farm-to-ECE

May 19, 2022 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.  // Virtual
Recently, Kids Forward interviewed eight local Farm-to-ECE practitioners and found an important theme: a clear link between the mental health benefits of Farm-to-ECE for children, educators, and families. The webinar will explore this theme in detail and feature a short panel discussion and breakout rooms discussing the mental health benefits of Farm-to-ECE.
Learn more and register here.

Color-changing lemonade? It's not magic, it's science!

Violets, butterfly pea, and other edible flowers can be steeped to create a tea that will change color when you add an acid or base. Learn more about why that happens here. This fun experiment can be about colors for the youngest learners and a real dive into plant pigments and chemistry for older students.
If you like this, you'll love some of the other foraging ideas that Alexis Nikole Nelson, better known as Black Forager, shares with her followers. Check her out on Instagram!
Joke of the Month
Click the green joke of the month button below to see the answer to this month's joke and to see Wisconsin School Garden Network's library of past jokes.
Have a farm to school joke to share? Email Rooted's Communications Director Renata Solan at
Joke of the Month: What do farmers talk about when they're milking cows?
Tools & Resources

Unified's Garden-based Learning Curriculum

The Berkeley Unified School District has developed a garden-based learning curriculum that is now available to all. These hands-on lessons 1) connect academics to real-world experiences; 2) include all learners; 3) invite curiosity; and 4) provide opportunities for reflection. View resource.

Mitigating Impact of Waiver Expiration

Many waivers were not extended for the 2022-23 school year, however USDA did announce some flexibilities available, which states can apply for beginning on July 1, 2022. Find more information, including options for programs that will struggle with the loss of area eligibility waivers in this USDA policy update from the 2022 National Child Nutrition Conference. In light of the upcoming waiver expirations, No Kid Hungry has updated a report on leveraging COVID relief funds to mitigate impact. View resource.

Partnership for a Healthier America: Veggies Early and Often

Through Veggies Early & Often, PHA is convening leaders in industry, health professionals, and early childhood education to consolidate evidence and outline an action agenda with the goal to raise a generation of veggie lovers. View resource.

School Garden Calendar: Month-by-month Reminders & Suggestions

It can be hard to remember everything we need to prepare for spring. The New York Botanical Garden offers a calendar with reminders/suggestions to help you stay on top of your garden project year-round. View resource.
Webinars, Conferences, Events & Trainings
Outdoor Learning Webinar Series 
Multiple Dates // Virtual
Introducing Outdoor Learning: a webinar series with appearances from the US Department of Education and in collaboration with a consortium of leading national organizations, including Big Green, Ecorise, Green Schoolyards America, Out Teach, and FreshFarm Foodprints.
May 11, 2022 // 3:00 p.m.: Creating Outdoor Spaces: The Infrastructure of Living Schoolyards hosted by Green Schoolyards America
May 25, 2022 // 3:00 p.m.: Equity in Outdoor Education & Environmental Justice hosted by EcoRise

Learn more and register here.
KidsGardening: Garden Story
May 12, 2022 // 4:00 p.m. //Virtual 
Join KidsGardening for an Instagram Live interview with children's book author JaNay Brown-Wood to learn about how gardening with a child can help nourish their mind, body, and soul. 
Listen to the story on Instagram Live.

Massachusetts Farm to School: Farm & Sea to School Conference
May 16 - 21, 2022 // In-person and virtual 
This statewide event will center on youth leadership and empowerment in the farm to school movement and will bring together farm to school advocates – food service professionals, students, educators, policy makers, public health advocates, community organizers, and more – for a week of virtual workshops and in-person field trips. The workshops will provide all attendees with concrete skills or actionable takeaways and confidence to make a change in their schools and communities. 
Learn more and register here.

Teaching in Nature's Classroom Summer Session
May 16 - August 9, 2022 // Virtual 
This free course, developed as a companion to the book Teaching in Nature’s Classroom: Principles of Garden-Based Education, is an opportunity for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field, to consider best practices and reflect on their own teaching practice in outdoor learning environments, with a focus on school and community youth gardens
Learn more and register here.
The Lifecycle of Farm to School Workshop Series: Garden Maintenance
May 18, 2022 // 1:30-4:30 p.m. // Virtual 
DPI’s series of 8 workshops focuses on the annual lifecycle of a school garden. This is the third session in the series and it will focus on garden maintenance. 
Learn more and register here.

Garden Story Time with Author Pat Zietlow Miller
May 19, 2022 // 2:00-2:45 p.m. // Madison, WI 
In honor of Wisconsin School Garden Day, New York Times bestselling author Pat Zietlow Miller with join us for a reading of her new book, In Our Garden. Then stay and explore our rooftop teaching garden and the expanding garden in our new Wonderground playspace. Learn more.

Now Accepting: 2022 WECA Conference Presenter Proposals
Proposals due June 3, 2022 
WECA is currently seeking workshop proposals for the 2022 WECA Virtual Conference: Cultivating Connections, taking place September 29 - October 1, 2022. WECA is requesting proposals that address timely early childhood topics and current challenges of the early care and education field.
 Learn more.
Growing School Food Gardens Webinar Series: Funding Your School Food Garden 
June 14, 2022 // 3:00 p.m // Virtual
This group is designed to facilitate networking and collaboration among school food garden practitioners locally, regionally, and nationally. Please join the Growing School Food Gardens community on the Kids Garden Community before joining this webinar.

Learn more and register here.
Funding Opportunities
Cynthia Hayes Memorial Scholarship (Degree-seeking Students)
Now accepting applications
The Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network (SAAFON), the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) have partnered together to create a scholarship in memory of Cynthia Hayes, co-founder and former director of SAAFON. The students awarded the scholarship will each receive a $5000 award and the opportunity to connect with sustainable food and farm advocates and practitioners.
 Learn more here.
Fruit Trees For Your Community
Now accepting applications
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF), an award-winning international nonprofit charity, has orchard donations available for recipients who pledge to care for their trees and utilize them for a charitable purpose. If selected for an orchard donation, FTPF provides high-quality fruit trees and shrubs, equipment, on-site orchard design expertise and oversight, horticultural workshops, and aftercare training and manuals.
 Learn more here.

Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program
Deadline: June 17, 2022 
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), requests applications from state governments for the Local Food for Schools (LFS) Program. The goal will be to establish cooperative agreements with state governments for the purpose of purchasing domestic, locally grown foods from local producers, small businesses, and socially disadvantaged farmers/producers for distribution to schools. AMS will make only one award per state government. The state governments can also partner with local organizations. Up to $200 million is available. 
Learn more here.
Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program - Produce Prescription Program
Deadline: June 30, 2022 
The National Institute for Food and Agriculture's (NIFA) Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program - Produce Prescription Program focuses on projects that improve dietary health through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables; reduce individual and household food insecurity; and reduce healthcare use and associated costs. Applications may only be submitted by government agencies and non-profit organizations; however, award recipients may sub-award to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. 
Learn more here.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant
Deadline: July 28, 2022 
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Agricultural Systems supports approaches that promote transformational changes in the U.S. food and agriculture system. NIFA seeks creative and visionary applications that take a systems approach for projects that are expected to significantly improve the supply of affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible agricultural products while fostering economic development and rural prosperity in America. 
Learn more here.

Job Opportunities
Make a Difference as an AmeriCorps Farm to School Specialist
Now accepting applications
Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction is now accepting applications for the AmeriCorps ‘22-23 service year. As a Farm to School Specialist, you will help teachers and school nutrition professionals by developing and implementing nutrition programs that will educate children about the benefits of making healthy eating choices. Positions are available across the state of Wisconsin. Learn more here.
Food First Fellows Program
Deadline: June 30, 2022
The Food First Fellows Program is a research, advocacy and leadership fellowship for early career researchers, academics and grassroots organization advocates.  Its purpose is to nurture and grow the next generation of influential thought leaders capable of creating and implementing strategies in the food justice/food sovereignty space. This fellowship is part of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (better known as Food First) transition towards a BIPOC-led and focused organization. The inaugural cohort of up to three (3) Fellows will serve a one-year fellowship with a possible additional year extension. Learn more here.
News & Policy Updates

Help Shape the Next Dietary Guidelines

Every five years, USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services partner to provide the latest, science-based nutrition guidance to empower Americans to make dietary choices that will improve their health and lifestyles. Starting last week, the USDA and HHS began the process of developing the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by posting proposed scientific questions for public comment. If you'd like to contribute to the development of the next dietary guidelines, submit your comment by May 16, 2022. Learn more.

Michigan High-schoolers Call for Change in National School Food Policy

High-schooler Zoe Fauble, her classmates, and her teachers are setting out to change national school nutrition policy, based on a compelling case for a nutritious and delicious bean muffin she invented. Read more.
What's Growing in Wisconsin?
Feature Story:
Oregon School District's Gardenpalooza

By Maddie Smith, AmeriCorps Farm to School Specialist, Oregon School District

Something about May feels like a party. Maybe it is the flecks of green, violet, pink, and gold that decorate the soil as seedlings and spring flowers make their debut. It could also be the feeling of warm sunshine and the songs of migrating birds returning from their winter vacation. Whatever it is, we are all geared up to celebrate the beginning of another growing season here in Oregon, Wisconsin with our annual ‘Gardenpalooza’ festivities!

The idea behind Gardenpalooza is that we turn our spring garden chores into a joyful school-wide celebration. It begins in the early weeks of April when classrooms take turns visiting the hoop house, where it is just warm enough inside to shed your jacket despite the chilly air outside. Students, teachers, and AmeriCorps Farm to School specialists work together to select and start seeds for the upcoming season. Sometimes, the work is tedious - handling tiny seeds, crafting biodegradable pots from old newspaper, and lugging around watering cans. Yet, in the spirit of Gardenpalooza, we encourage all participants to use this time to socialize with their peers, exchange stories from the garden, and daydream about summertime. For the next few weeks, the seedlings stay in the hoop house where we work together to keep them watered, warm, and healthy. 

The main event occurs towards the end of May, when consistently warm days (hopefully) prevail, and it is time for the seedlings to move outdoors! Every student has an opportunity to take the seedlings they planted weeks earlier and transplant them into the garden beds. We play games to help us learn about the different parts of the plant and about the natural processes that occur within the garden. Throughout the week, we paint huge, colorful banners to decorate the garden - which really add to the party ambiance. Even tasks that are no fun by yourself, like pulling weeds and turning the soil, aren’t half-bad when you turn it into a friendly competition. Who knew that hard work could be so fun? 

There is much to celebrate this May as we emerge from another Wisconsin winter. Wherever you are, I hope you find ways to experience your own Gardenpalooza - the celebration of another wonderful season in the garden!
Have a question or feedback about the newsletter?
Email us at
Subscribe to this newsletter here:

Copyright © 2021, Growing Together: Wisconsin's Farm to School/ECE and School Garden Newsletter, All rights reserved.


Growing Together: Wisconsin's Farm to School/ECE and School Garden Newsletter is a collaboration of Rooted and Wisconsin School Garden Network. Growing Together is published and distributed by Rooted.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.