EarthBox in Our Schools:
Bringing Students Back to their Roots in Idaho
Snake River Junior High School is part of a rural school district located in an agricultural area of southeast Idaho. Many students in Blackfoot have become alienated from their farming roots because of technological advancements. Some children aren't even aware of where their food comes from, other than from the grocery store.
Jeff Baldwin, M.Ed., began teaching seventh grade Life Science at Snake River Junior High several years ago. Mr. Baldwin was determined to convert conventional science instruction into projects involving measuring, sampling, observing, collecting and being outdoors.
"I want students to connect science with production and employment, especially in agriculture, which is an essential part of our culture. I feel it's been a very successful start, and we're on our way to making this the best science program in the state."
Each of Mr. Baldwin's 120 seventh graders has a small garden plot in one of the 15 EarthBoxes which are on countertops around the classroom perimeter. This is their third year growing in EarthBoxes, and they have had great success with various winter leaf lettuce varieties.
The seeds are sprouted in small containers, and then students transfer the seedlings into their assigned EarthBox garden spots. Over several weeks, the students measure and observe the growth, then data is collected, tabled, graphed, and used in math exercises.
The harvest is enjoyed each year on "Salad Bowl Day", which emphasizes the healthy diet and nutrition topics studied in human health. The students harvest, clean, and prepare a salad bowl snack. "We find that the flavors of nice, sweet lettuce greens are delicately enhanced with a touch of ranch salad dressing," says Baldwin.
"As soon as students walk through the classroom door, they rush over to see how their crops are doing. It's an excellent learning project, and for me a very fulfilling assignment."
For more information about Snake River Junior High School, click here.
For information on starting an EarthBox project of your own, click here or contact our Education Department at 1-800-821-8838, ext. 8348 or 8369.
Monthly Drawing for a $50 EarthBox Gift Certificate!
Educators, we want to support you in every way we can. One way we show our appreciation is with our bi-monthly drawing for a $50 EarthBox gift certificate.
This issue's winner is Bob Philbin, an urban farmer in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Bob operates a thriving EarthBox garden, with about twenty containers greening the rooftop at his popular bar, the Bog, and another hundred or so in a nearby borrowed lot.
Bob may not be a conventional educator, but it's hard to find a better example of how to run a successful urban garden! He starts his own seedlings in a greenhouse in his backyard, before transplanting them into his EarthBoxes. He grows a variety of beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, eggplant, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and more.
Bob sells some of his crop to local restaurants and cafes, and self-markets the rest on "Produce Tuesdays" at the Bog.
Urban farming can be challenging, but Bob remains upbeat about the advantages, and continues to look for ways to expand his operation. As he points out, finding fertile ground isn't a problem, since the EarthBox system is self-contained and can be used almost anywhere. Currently, he's looking at old city land and railroad sites as potential new farming locations.
We'll be posting more winners as we choose them. Remember: to be eligible for the drawing, please mention the Source Code EDUDISC when ordering your EarthBox products.
Are You in the STEM Directory?
The National Directory of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can help promote your after-school program, which in turn can lead to increased membership, funding, and partnership opportunities.
The Coalition for Science After School has partnered with Time Warner Cable to create this on-line national directory, and participation is absolutely free. Time Warner Cable, to support children and families, will promote STEM with Public Service Announcements throughout a five-year campaign.
EarthBox Education wants to collectively upload information to the site. To do this, we need to hear from you. Please email your contact information and program description to Molly at
firstname.lastname@example.org for loading. When the information is uploaded, you will receive an email with a login and password information, and you're in!
Other STEM News
Those educators who work with girls in STEM are encouraged to sign up for the National Girls Collaborative Project newsletter. If you do, please include the word "EarthBox" in the Program Title field.
EarthBox Education is supportive of The Afterschool Alliance and the National AfterSchool Association as they conduct surveys to assess the state of STEM in afterschool and summer programs around the country. The data obtained will be vital to helping better describe and promote the STEM learning that occurs after school and during the summer.
As the school year winds down, students and teachers alike pine to get out of the classroom and into the fresh air. The demand on teachers to keep the class focused on schoolwork can be daunting -- but EarthBox can help!
Our EarthBox Instructional School Gardens leave no child or teacher indoors. Growing crops in an EarthBox is easy and productive: the self-watering container eliminates weeding, hoeing, and digging, produces high yields, and implements sustainable practices.
With EarthBox Instructional School Gardens, the outdoors becomes a classroom. In just 25 days, for example, students can grow out and experience the harvest of radishes. During that period they collect, record, and analyze data about radish germination and harvest, insects, water usage, and temperature. All our EarthBox instructional plans and activities focus on healthy eating and exercise.
After the harvest, you can close the season until the next school year, or share the EarthBox experience with students in a summer program. Whatever the choice, EarthBox Instructional School Gardens help students spend the final days of the school year learning outdoors -- growing healthy crops, healthier minds, healthier bodies, and a healthier planet.
"Tell me, and I'll forget; show me, and I may remember; involve me, and I'll understand." -- Chinese proverb
|EarthBox in Our Communities
EarthBoxes Sprout Vegetables from Top of Parking Garage
A number of students and faculty at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, Washington have established a "living-learning laboratory" on the top of their campus parking garage. Two years ago, this space was converted into a garden of EarthBoxes, which are sprouting beans, tomatoes, several varieties of lettuce, peppers, beets, carrots, snap peas, garlic and artichokes.
A children's learning/play area, a greenhouse, and a solar array share space with the vegetables. This classroom and laboratory is the site for several of Trinity's college classes, including earth science, early childhood education and service learning practicum. When classes are not in session up on the roof, downtown community members like to visit to relax, meditate, and enjoy the garden.
Dr. David Ellingson, Professor of Children, Youth, and Family Studies at Trinity, is delighted with the outcome of this project, as it's not only a learning source for children and adults, but the produce provides sustenance to malnourished community members. Some of the harvest is also shared with college food service and local food banks.
"We are grateful that we are able to continue growing on our 'rooftop laboratory,' as it benefits so many people in our area," says Dr. Ellingson. "Grants from the Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge Ministries, and Thrivent Financial have helped to make this project possible. We look forward to many more years of growing, learning and giving through our rooftop garden."
|EarthBox Around the World
Growing School Gardens in Alberta
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development of Alberta, Canada has produced an online manual for the teaching community in Alberta.
A Guide to Growing School Gardens in Alberta is a complete guide to growing classroom gardens. This teacher-tested comprehensive guide includes step-by-step instructions and illustrations for growing in EarthBoxes. It covers everything from curriculum planning, planting calendars, and prepping the EarthBox to sample templates for funding, budgeting, and parent communications.
Here's a sampling of some of the sections in the guide:
- Plan & design the garden
- Teaching themes
- Learning Outcomes Chart for Grades 3-8 (Science, Health & Life Skills, Social Studies, Language Arts, Mathematics and Art)
- Complete growing information for cool and warm weather vegetables
- Detailed description and illustrations of the EarthBox growing system
- Nutrition information and recipes
- Summer maintenance
- After-harvest EarthBox storage
- Contacts for support and information
The Guide is part of Alberta Agriculture's ongoing commitment to support and participate in The Growing Connection, a global coalition of private and public sector partners who grow food through school and community garden programs.
There's an abundance of information in the Guide for educators, those gardening with children, or even beginning gardeners. Click here to get your copy of this invaluable teaching tool!
Maximus Charitable Foundation Grants
The Maximus Charitable Foundation offers an excellent way to fund your EarthBox initiatives, with grants ranging in size from $1,000-$5,000. The Board of Directors considers a number of factors when selecting recipients, including:
- The purpose of the funds requested: Will the funds be used to meet the Foundation's goal of serving the disadvantaged?
- The target group: Does the organization focus on serving youth?
- Financial information: Is the requesting organization financially stable?
- Program history: Does the requesting organization have a successful history?
If you'd like to apply for a Maximus Charitable Foundation Grant, click here to start the application process.
Nominate Afterschool Programs for Innovator Awards
The Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation need your help identifying exemplary afterschool programs serving middle school youth that are eligible to win a $10,000 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award, and to be featured in the AA's series of Issue Briefs.
Nominate a program by May 31, 2011 to be considered for this prestigious initiative, now in its fourth year. Nominees are sought in four categories:
- Providing Opportunities for Service Learning for Middle School Students
- Aligning Afterschool with the School Day for Middle School
- Addressing Middle School Bullying
- Supporting Literacy for Middle School Students
The MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards aim to identify potentially lesser-known, yet highly effective, programs and the individuals running them. Nominees will be judged by the innovative nature of their approach and demonstrated effectiveness.
Each of the five award winners will receive $10,000 for their program, to be presented in October in conjunction with Lights On Afterschool. Awardees and other notable nominees will be recognized in a nationally-released Issue Brief and compendium.
The online nomination form can be found here, and additional details, including information about past years' winners, are available here.
Nominate a program yourself, or point us to candidates by emailing email@example.com.
|Instructional Plan for EarthBox Learning|
All-Age 25 Day Radish Instructional Plan
The EarthBox All-Age 25 Day Radish Instructional Plan is an ideal garden learning plan for these last few weeks of school. It's simple and quick, teaching students the basics of planting, nurturing and harvesting radishes. Take a look!
Here's a list of Education Distributor websites to assist you in obtaining catalogs and getting more info about using the EarthBox system in your classroom.
(Catalogs: Life Science, Environmental)
Escape Sports, Canada
Fisher Science Education
(Catalogs: Elementary, Middle School, High School, College Science)
Kaplan Early Learning
Kaplan K-5 Catalog
(Catalogs: Elementary Math/Science, Summit, Science, Senior Activities)
Science Kit Catalog
Science Museum Gifts
Spectrum Education Supplies (Nasco Canada)
(Catalog: Secondary Science)
Ward's Natural Science
Ward's of Canada
|Join Our Community|
EarthBox is on Facebook! Now you can become a fan of EarthBox, joining a community of fellow EarthBox users for conversations, advice and photo sharing -- or just to check out whatever new information EarthBox has to enhance your gardening experience.
And don't forget to check out our videos! This is a members only feature, so if you're not already a Facebook member, you'll need to sign up to view the videos.
We'd also like to remind you about our forum, which you can find at http://forum.earthbox.com. We'd love for you to weigh in on any EarthBox matters that interest you, and show us how your EarthBox crops are faring this year. And don't hesitate to ask questions, because your fellow EarthBoxers are a wonderful source of information who will gladly help with any of your EarthBox issues!
To place an order, call 888-445-6295 (24/7) or visit our online store.
Educators, please mention the Source Code EDUDISC when ordering your EarthBox to be eligible for a free $50 EarthBox gift certificate! Winners will be selected from our customer base and announced in each issue of our newsletter.
|About EarthBox |
The patented EarthBox was developed by commercial farmers, and proven in the lab and on the farm. Our maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden -- with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort.
It's used successfully on a daily basis by commercial farmers, educators, and consumers. Distributors are also finding it to be a popular growing system.
EarthBox is a remarkably easy-to-set-up system that can be used to grow produce virtually anywhere. EarthBox systems have been incorporated into community gardens all over the world, enabling families and neighbors to share fresh produce, while minimizing work and expenses.
EarthBoxes can even be found in classrooms. Our EarthBox Pre-K through 12th grade standards-based curriculum support packages can bring science to life, with hands-on cross-curricula lessons that teach principles of growing and nutrition utilizing the scientific method in student-driven experiments.
To find out more, click here.To request a catalog, call 888-917-3908.