October 24, 2017
Creators of America's
Largest School Garden Program

Green Our Planet Helps Introduce and Land $615,000 State Grant For Nevada School Gardens (SB-167)
Green Our Planet Co-Director, Ciara Byrne, testifying before the Senate Committee on Education in Carson City on behalf of Senate Bill SB-167 on March 7th, 2017
Because funding for school gardens and school garden programs is often the biggest obstacle for schools to obtain a school garden, Green Our Planet helped craft, introduce and lobby for Senate Bill SB-167, which asked the Nevada legislature to appropriate $615,000 "to provide for the creation and maintenance of programs that provide school gardens for Title 1 schools." This was the first time such a bill had ever been introduced in the history of Nevada.

With the help of Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley and Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante, the bill was introduced into the legislature in Feb, 2017. Ciara Byrne, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Green Our Planet, testified before the Senate Education Committee in Carson City on behalf of the bill, then again before the Ways and Means Committee. Eventually, after the bill slowly wound its way through the Senate Education, Senate Finance, and the Ways and Means Committee, the bill was passed by both houses in June, 2017 and became law on July 1 2017.

"I would like to thank Senator Farley and Assemblywoman Bustamante," said Ciara Byrne, "who along with support from Switch and the Department of Agriculture helped insure the passage of this bill."

Now, Title 1 schools throughout the state of Nevada can apply for funds during the fiscal year 2017-2018 and then again in 2018-2019, in order to fund or maintain school gardens and school garden programs.

"The bill just made history," Byrne said. "Nevada became a state in 1864. That's 153 years ago. And yet this is the first time in Nevada history that the state has provided funds for school gardens and school garden programs. That just shows the increasing recognition of the impact a good school garden program can have on a school."
Green Our Planet and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Clark County Sign Formal Partnership to Further the School Garden Movement in Southern Nevada
On July 1, 2017, thanks to guidance and assistance from County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Green Our Planet and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension signed a formal, three-year partnership meant to further both organization's missions to foster healthy environments, improve and disseminate science education, and to use knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of people. Founded in Reno in 1914, the Cooperative Extension has spent more than a century researching agriculture and transmitting that knowledge to the public.

With their new partnership, the Cooperative Extension will sponsor the fees of sixty schools in Clark County where Green Our Planet is currently running its Outdoor Garden Classroom Program. The two organizations have also jointly organized a series of teaching workshops for the 2017-2018 school year, so that teachers can more comfortably teach STEAM classes outside. They will also partner on pre-kindergarten curriculum development, and creating a chef program for parents.

"We're excited to be partnering with the Cooperative Extension," said Kim MacQuarrie, Co-Director of Green Our Planet. "They have an extremely knowledgeable staff and have been conducting research in outdoor education and horticulture in this area for may decades. We're now going to help bring the fruits of that research to many of the schools that we work with."
Green Our Planet's Farmers Market, the largest Student-run Farmers Market in the United States, Returns to Zappos on Thursday, Nov 16th
Green Our Planet organized the first giant farmers market at Zappos on May 4th, 2017. 28 public schools and 280 students participated. On Nov 16th, the market will be even larger, with 30-32 school participating and over 300 students
Green Our Planet launched its "Farm-preneur" Program in the fall of 2013, helping to organize the first student-run farmers market in Southern Nevada at John S Park Elementary School. The initial idea was to have students turn their school gardens into businesses by organizing farmers markets at their schools. Green Our Planet solidified the idea by incorporating the "Farm-preneur" Program into its 5th grade Garden STEAM curriculum. From that small beginning, the "Farm-preneur" Program has grown. Last year, Green Our Planet helped organize 165 student-run farmers markets at schools across Clark County, including a massive one held at Zappos downtown: 280 students from 28 schools congregated downtown to sell their garden-grown veggies to the public for the first time.

The event was so successful that together with Zappos, Green Our Planet decided to organize two giant student-run farmers markets a year. The first will be held on Thursday, Nov 16th at Zappos headquarters downtown. A second one will be held in the spring. 

"It's the culmination of the students' garden programs at their schools," said Sarah Russell, Special Projects Coordinator at Green Our Planet and organizer of the large farmers market held at Zappos. "By the time they arrive at the market, students have already learned how to grow vegetables, they've already been learning science out in their gardens, and they've already learned the basics of creating a business out of their gardens. Tony Tsieh, the CEO of Zappos, began his first business at the age of 8 selling worms. The 4th and 5th graders that come here are the same age as he was. For most of them, this is their first business venture as well."
Green Our Planet Expands Beyond Las Vegas and Builds its 120th School Garden, with a Help from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
A Map of Green Our Planet's School Gardens. Recently, Green Our Planet has begun extending its reach outside of the Las Vegas area, with two gardens in Mesquite, Nevada and another in the process of being built in Pahrump.
Having helped fund and build its first school garden in Las Vegas in the spring of 2013, Green Our Planet built its 120th school garden on Saturday, October 7th, at Goolsby Elementary School. Many corporations and donors have made this possible, helping to fund and maintain the school gardens. One of those corporations is the Consumer Technology Association, which runs the Consumer Electronics Show each year in Las Vegas. In 2015, CTA gave a $65,000 grant to Green Our Planet, followed up with two more grants in 2016 and 2017. All told, the grants have helped to fund 26 school gardens across the Las Vegas Valley.

Below: A map of the 26 school gardens that the Consumer Technology Association has helped fund since 2015.
Bank of Nevada and Green Our Planet Train Young Entrepreneurs
Over the past few months, Green Our Planet has been working with the Bank of Nevada to develop a financial literacy curriculum to teach 5th graders how to run their garden as a business.  CCSD teacher Sue Cormier from Lummis ES created the lessons for bankers to teach to 5th grade classes.  The pilot will take place this October and November at five CCSD schools including Lummis ES, Roger Bryan ES, Bracken ES, Paul Culley ES and CH Decker ES.  Bankers from the Bank of Nevada will visit all the 5th grade classes at these schools to teach two lessons.  One lesson will focus on creating a business, writing a business plan, figuring out how to create a budget for the garden and figuring out the vision for the garden. The second lesson focuses on customer service, pricing, figuring out your customers needs and making change.  The bankers and students will then attend the Green Our Planet Farmers Market at Zappos on November 16th where they will put their newly learned entrepreneurial skills to the test.  

Chris Gaynor Vice President at Bank of Nevada and Green Our Planet Board Member says, "seeing 5th graders so enthusiastic about learning how to figure out their operating budget and what their customers needs are, not to mention learning how banks work in the community is very exciting to see.  We are thrilled to be part of such a positive program for the students in our community."

The lessons that will be taught by the bankers are to Nevada State Standards. Over 30 bankers from the Bank of Nevada will be volunteering at the Green Our Planet Farmers Market on November 16th.

Top Photo: 35 Bankers from the Bank of Nevada participated in the Green Our Planet Farmers Market at Zappos on May 5, 2017

Green Our Planet's & Los Vaqueros' Hydroponics Program Continues--Hydroponics units are now in 11 CCSD Schools

Above: Green Our Planet and its partner, Los Vaqueros, have thus far delivered 11 hydroponics units to 11 CCSD elementary schools, which are now using the units to grow plants hydroponically indoors. Taylor Quiriam (front left above), Green Our Planet's hydroponic's director, is in charge of the program and works closely with the schools to instruct its teachers how to run the units. The nonprofit Los Vaqueros funds and builds the units while Green Our Plant implements the hydroponics program in the schools. The goal is for the units--which allow plants to grow twice as fast as soil-based plants--to fuel supplemental salad bars at the schools. A new round of construction so that more hydroponic units can be delivered to more schools is slated for the spring.

Above: Emily Beamguard & Friends


Spotlight on Emily Beamguard

Green Our Planet Farmer-Horticulturalist



How did you become a scientist/horticulturalist?

I always like to figure out how things work - from appliances to zucchini and everything between.  I am always running experiments and testing hypotheses to discover what works the best.  It doesn’t matter if I am cleaning windows or growing plants. My Dad taught me that there is almost always a better way of doing things and to experiment.  My love of nature and plants led me to study ecology in college; combined with my desire for experiments I received an internship at the Environmental Protection Agency conducting plant and soil research.  I use my knowledge of ecology and scientific methods to test different plants and methods to grow food in the desert. 

What is your role at Green Our Planet?

I am one of the farmers.  I make weekly visits to 18 schools to teach (students and teachers) about the garden and make sure the garden is producing. 

Where did you grow up and attend school? 

I grew up in rainy Vancouver, Washington.   I attended college at Oregon State University graduating with honors with a B.S. in Natural Resources.  I moved to sunny Nevada over 11 years ago, and I love it here!

Do you have a garden at home? 

I affectionately call my home an urban farm complete with chickens.  It is a ¼ acre suburban home with a fruit and nut trees, and veggies everywhere!  The one year I weighed all my produce it was almost 10,000 lbs!

What is your favorite thing to grow? 

Luffa sponges.  They grow exceptionally well here in S Nevada and most people don’t know their favorite scrubber in the shower is a member of the squash family!  Their large yellow flowers attract the large black friendly carpenter bees.  The sponges are versatile, great for dishes, showers, garden tools, grills, auto parts, or anything that you need to scrub!

How do students respond to their gardens?

Almost everyone loves the garden!  Many students tell me it is their favorite place to relax and think. 

Do certain grade levels respond more than others?

Younger students are more likely to express their positive feelings about the garden.  The older students, I can see in their eyes they love the garden, but hide it because it isn’t ‘cool’ with their peers.

Are students more curious than adults?

Kids are naturally more curious about the world about them as they are still trying to figure everything out.  Adults often get trapped in the daily cycle of life and forget to stop and wonder.

Garden Tip

By Emily Beamguard, horticulturalist at Green Our Planet
  Onions and garlic

The weather is finally cooling down.  Summer crops are getting pulled and put into the compost pile to make room for the fall/winter crops.  Consider planting from the allium plant family including: onions, garlic, shallots, and chives.  They are wonderful winter companion crops, helping protect the leafy greens from aphids and deter root-eating grubs from below.  Don’t plant onions around peas and beans, as they don’t grow well together. 
Onions bulb in response to day length and are classified according to how much daylight they require to bulb. The short day onions need 10 to 11 hours; intermediate varieties need 12 to 13 hours; and the long day varieties need 14 to 16 hours.  Here in Southern Nevada, by the time the days are long enough; it is too hot for onions to bulb properly.  Short day is best but intermediate also do well. 
Onions are often planted from sets, which are 1 year old onions.  If planted too early in the spring and there is a frost, it will flower and result in a poor quality onion.  Unfortunately, most onion sets sold locally in Southern Nevada are long day onions.  Try planting from seed instead of sets.  Plant onions seeds now until mid November, and late spring a baseball-sized onion can be harvested!  It won’t be the huge store onion, but big enough for a meal!  Tastier too!  Make sure to thin the growing onions to 6” to allow room to bulb.  The thinned onions make tasty green onions. 
Garlic does extremely well over the winter.  Plant 6” apart and keep mulched for the largest heads in late spring.  It is best to use certified disease-free seed garlic, but store garlic dipped in alcohol to kill any disease can also be planted.

Happy Gardening!
New Garden Builds In Sept & October
Green Our Planet's Platinum Sponsor is Switch.  Switch makes everything possible!  Thank you Switch.

Green Our Planet's Platinum Sponsor is SWITCH and its office is headquartered at SWITCH's Innevation Center

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