Welcome Back to Bounty!

Harvest Festivals are a wonderful way to welcome students back to school, help them re-connect with the garden, and give them a chance to show off their outdoor classroom. Fall garden celebrations also create involvement between school and community, and are a wonderful way to build excitement, investment, and a spirit of generosity.

Harvest festivals take on the culture and creativity of a school community, just like the gardens that host them. When creating this newsletter, we were overwhelmed with fun ideas to integrate learning, food, and fun! We've posted the best here, but you can find more pictures, and links for each, on our Harvest Festival Ideas Pinterest board!

Harvest Festival Recipe Ideas

Harvest Festival Decor Ideas

Harvest Festival Activity Ideas

Community Involvement Ideas

Resources & Events

WAEE Conference and Green and Healthy Schools Institute: August 13-15, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Attendees will participate in hands-on workshops, concurrent sessions, and field trips. Networking opportunities are plentiful, as are fun, locally- themed social events. A wonderful collaboration between the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education and Green and Healthy Schools Wisconsin!
Kids' Gardening Harvest Festival Ideas. Kids' Gardening is a much-frequented webpage among garden educators, and for good reason.  Their list of harvest festival ideas is particularly wonderful. There's plenty of detail to get your wheels turning, but also plenty of room for interpretation!
Teaching Ecological Concepts in a Garden Setting Survey. Calling all garden educators! Please consider taking this Garden Ecology Survey from UW-Stevens Point's Conserve School graduate program. The survey looks at how educators are teaching ecological principles in a garden setting. The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete. You can also find it posted on KidsGardening.org.

School Garden Success Stories

Growing Food and Sustainability Grows Community, Harvests Success

On August 16, Growing Food and Sustainability (GFS) will host its third annual Harvest Festival.  At the festival, summer camp students, high school and college-age interns, and program leaders will come together with community members to celebrate a successful summer harvest, munch on spaghetti and snacks made from garden produce, and raise funds for the Middleton non-profit.  There will be crafts, face painting, games, and tours of the GFS Youth Farm.  Although it’s not on the schedule, there’s sure to be laughter, ambiance, and new connections. 
“We put up posters around the community so it’s a chance for people who don’t know what’s going on right here to check it out and get involved with the program, and see what’s going on at their local school,” program leader Gabrielle Hinahara said. 

In addition to opening the metaphorical doors for more to get involved, the Harvest Festival is a way to say thank-you to the many people who are already a part of GFS.  This includes K-8 students from the program’s two 3-week-long summer camps, after school students from the neighboring Middleton Youth Center, CSA members, produce donation sites, compost pick-up sites, parents, interns, and the three GFS program leaders who make it all happen.
The idea for Growing Food and Sustainability was hatched three years ago by Gabrielle Hinahara, 26, and her sister, Natalie, 21. The Hinahara sisters are Middleton High School alums who volunteer their time to run the program they created. A current West High School student and former intern, Robin, joined the leadership team in 2013. “The main reason we wanted to start this program is because we both grew up in Middleton and were really involved in environmental things but neither thought about food and how that connected with the environmental stuff until we were in college, which is kind of crazy,” Gabrielle said. “We knew there was a greenhouse and outdoor classroom at Middleton, but neither were really being used. We wanted to expose kids in this area with growing food and cooking and sustainability before they were in college, and use the space that was already there.”
GFS partners with Middleton High School, which provides greenhouse and outdoor classroom space, as well as Clark Street Community School, which provides land for the program’s large Youth Farm and indoor kitchen space for cooking activities. Many Middleton students are involved in the program’s summer camps, and teachers are invited to take classes to any of the growing spaces.  GFS summer camps take place at its Youth Farm and allow students to explore topics such as soil and compost, garden insects, community building, and the green economy.  GFS teaches students about eco-friendly transportation, exercise, community service, and reducing waste as they use their gigantic bike trailer to haul produce to the Middleton Senior Center for donation, and pick up food scraps at two local restaurants to feed their garden compost pile.  (In fact, everything is done by bicycle: none of the program leaders own a car.)
Growing Food and Sustainability is truly built and run by young people invested in creating a better community.  In addition to teaching school-age children about the connection between food, the environment, and the economy, GFS hires several interns, ages 14-30, each summer. Interns can choose a farming or education focus in their work, and all participate in weekly professional development classes. 
Where do a couple of early-20-somethings get the funding and the know-how to create a program from scratch? They are creative (Natalie, an art student at UW-Madison, creates most of their professional-looking communications materials), resourceful (their non-profit status came from a national group called Grand Aspirations), and work tirelessly.  Gabrielle even completed an internship at Community GroundWorks’ Goodman Youth Farm to learn more about youth garden program development while running the second season of summer camps at the GFS Youth Farm! She now directs the Middleton Youth Center in addition to her leadership role in GFS.
The Harvest Festival is one of many ways that GFS is able to raise money to keep its program running.  They also started a small eleven-member CSA this season to support the program and teach interns and students about another aspect of farming. Because of the community support the program has built in the past three years, all the memberships were spoken for within just two hours of the initial call via email.  GFS intends to keep its CSA small, and keep the focus on students and education.  You can learn much more about the group’s accomplishments on their 2013 infographic.  If you’re in the Middleton area this August, though, make sure to stop by the Harvest Festival. We’re sure you’ll be impressed and inspired.

Your Garden Story

Stories come from everywhere. Each gardener, of any age, has a reason for being there, some special tidbit to talk about. 

We love writing your stories down - now we want to see them on video. It takes two minutes to interview a student or fellow teacher about their garden experience, but the impacts can last for years with policy makers, funders, and the entire community. Use these prompts to create one-minute videos with your camera, phone, or tablet. Kids often have fun interviewing their peers!

Video prompts for student gardeners

Video prompts for adult garden leaders

Send your videos to wsgi@communitygroundworks.org. We will edit them together to create a state-wide story about the power of school gardens in Wisocnsin! 
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                                                                                                              For those new to WSGI, we couldn't leave out these amazing resources. "Got Dirt?" will walk you through starting a school garden, while "Got Veggies?" will help you implement a garden-based nutrition curriculum.  "Cultivating Childhood Wellness through Gardening" is an online training that will help you establish and utilize a school garden.  You can watch the entire training or select specific chapters.

Find them all here.

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