April 21, 2015

Dear Network Members and Friends,


Chefs at Felicia's Farm had 45 minutes during which they created an entirely local meal for the farm's recent Chef Challenge fundraiser in Tucson, AZ. Forty-five members requested to join the FBEN since our last newsletter went out. And it has been 45 years since 20 million people took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums across the United States to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment as part of the first Earth Day in 1970. 


Today, we can look one way and learn that agriculture is destroying the planet, and another direction to see that sustainable farming will save it. Our immense job as farm-based educators is to interpret this information alongside the learners with whom we work. The resources and events included in this newsletter will support you in this challenge. 


Wherever you may be on tomorrow's 45th anniversary of Earth Day, we hope you have a fun and thoughtful celebration! (Check out the Earth Day events in your neighborhood.)



Vera Simon-Nobes (Coordinator) and the FBEN team  

Farm to Preschool Workshop

On May 6, Emily Jackson, Program Director of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project will travel to Shelburne, Vermont for a two part workshop: Farm to School & Preschool: Building Healthier Kids & Healthier Communities. Registration is open!


Emily will share success stories of connecting young children, food, and farmers in her Asheville, NC community. Take part in taste tests, soil exploration, and planting seedlings, and catch hold of Emily's contagious love of children's literature!  Sponsored by the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children, Champlain College: Graduate Studies, Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Shelburne Farms. 

Tour with Farm-Based Educators

The FBEN is organizing a 2-day tour of farm-based education farms in New England and New York this fall. The tour will focus on sustaining programming, creating signage and design that make visitors feel welcome, and of course, programming!

If you would like to host a group or collaborate to make this tour happen, contact: vera@farmbasededucation.org
FBEN at the NOFA Summer Conference

This August, join The FARM Institute's Assistant Education Director, Tierney Lane, and Trustees of Reservations' Appleton Farms' Educator, Caroline Rouillard, for a hands-on workshop at the NOFA Summer Conference! Fill your toolbox with farm-based activities and discuss how education fits into farm production systems. 


Workshop schedule will be posted May 1; registration info to follow.  

Cock-a-Doodle-Dos of FBE Williamsburg

On June 19, farm-based educators from Shelburne Farms are teaming up with 

The Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums to present a full-day workshop, the "Cock-a-Doodle-Dos of Farm-Based Education" in Wililamsburg, Virginia! Explore activities on animal stewardship, vegetable production, soil health, systems and cycles and more, and gather tips for customizing activities for families and school groups. See schedule.
On Farm Education Pacific Grove

The first ever California Farm to School Conference will take place May 4-6 in Pacific Grove, CA. The FBEN is proud to see leaders in farm-based education, Erynn Smith, (Join the Farm); Jessica Ridgeway (Live Earth Farm Discovery), Alexandra Villegas (Pie Ranch) on the program for a panel discussion, "On Farm Education" Tuesday, May 5 from 1-2:15. Thank you California Alliance with Family Farmers and CA Farm to School Network for putting together this great event! 

Farm and Writing Immersion

This summer, two Martha's Vineyard organizations, the Noepe Center for Literary Arts and The FARM Institute are teaming up to offer a unique, immersive experience at the intersection of farming and writing. Through writing, you'll explore issues around agriculture, food production, ethics, sustainability and the past, present and future of farming. Staff will offer their ideas for additional resources and experiences on these topics. Applications accepted through June 1.

Science Rap Academy

High school students in Hillsborough, CA released the first of four student-produced science music videos as part of the "Science Rap Academy" in April. The song, "Please Don't Kill My Hive," is a science-ified version of "B****, Don't Kill My Vibe" by Kendrick Lamar.

Farm Aid Grants

Farm Aid supports nonprofit organizations that work to maintain a family farm system of agriculture and that promote solutions to the challenges facing rural communities. Grants of $3,000 to $10,000 are provided in the following categories: "Growing the Good Food Movement", "Helping Farmers Thrive", and "Taking Action to Change the System".  Letters of inquiry due by May 1; full proposals due August 1. Grant application guidelines.

Tools for Cooperative Farm Partnerships

As farm-based educators, we're passionate about inspiring people to consider careers in agriculture. One of the biggest hurdles facing new farmers is land acquisition. To address this hurdle, The Greenhorns released "Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together" in 2014. It's a collaborative-business how-to handbook based on 42 interviews with agricultural professionals. Whether these issues are pertinent to you now or later, we think it should be on your bookshelf!

Talking About Fair Labor

(Photo by HIlary Martin)

How does education about agricultural workers fit into your farm-based education work? A new documentary, Food Chain$, may be a useful tool in teaching students and community members about equitable labor practices on farms. The film chronicles an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), as they battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program. 


The CIW is a farmworker-led organization based in Immokalee, Florida that has changed the tomato industry from one that ran on exploitation to one that is just beginning to respect the rights of farmworkers. They have done so by pushing 13 food corporations to pay fairer wages and change conditions in the fields. You can follow the group's work on social media, and watch Food Chain$ on iTunes. 

Q&A with Pietree Orchard

"I want to make it possible everyone people to connect to farms. I want to make it possible for everyone to see, taste, and smell how food is grown," writes Alexandra Tomaso, Public Relations & Event Coordinator for Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Maine.  At Pietree, Alexandra connects people to their food when they come to the orchard, but also after they go home through their blog, newsletter and social media.  Alexandra took a few minutes to answer questions about the intersection of farm-based education and her role at Pietree. Read the full Q&A.

 Featured Photo

President Barack Obama talks with 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students during their visit, with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, to the Oval Office, April 13 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). 4-H programs have historically focused on agriculture as a way to connect youth with rural life. Today, many 4-H clubs focus on citizenship and healthy living in addition to STEM and agriculture. 

in this Issue
Farm to Preschool
Tour with us
Workshop, Amherst
Workshop, Williamsburg
Workshop, Pacific Grove
Farm and Writing Immersion
Science Rap Academy
Farm Aid Grants
Cooperative Farming Tools
Fair Labor
Q&A Member Spotlight
Featured Photo
get involved
   FB_logotwitter bird
conversations and 
In honor of #EarthDay2015, Food Tank compiled an inspiring list to highlight solutions to the world's most pressing issues. 

Free webinar series in which teachers at CitySprouts partner schools share examples of garden-based learning from their classrooms.
One person can change many lives, is the message in this bilingual children's book by Arlene Williams. This book blends poetry, biographical facts and quotations to present the life of Cesar Chavez.

The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming

A photographic storytelling project and book by Natasha Bowens. It introduces farmers and food activists of color who are revolutionizing the food system and preserving cultural foodways around the country. Farmer portraits are also available for sale. 


Children's Right to the Great Outdoors

A columnist chronicles the development of the Washington Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights, which was sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick and unanimously adopted by the Senate on February 27, 2015. 


This free online course from edX and Cornell University brings philosophers, chefs, farmers, nutritionists, and scientists together to explore the choices we make about food and the ethical frameworks around those choices. 


Redesigning Playgrounds to Promote Loose Play

A Philadelphia author discusses the new Susan Solomon book, The Science of Play, and rethinks the conventional playground.


Tips for Classroom Management in the Garden

A useful tips sheet from the Edible Schoolyard - Berkeley, where they focus on three areas to teach in a garden classroom: student buy-in, routines and rituals, and positive discipline.


Looking for a Periodic Table of Vegetables?  A food mill? KidsGardening.org has great equipment and sales. 


Making Sense of Water

In his most recent NYTimes Op-Ed, Mark Bittman calls for "wise use and conservation," and calls on California Gov. Brown to challenge senior water rights, to strictly regulate the pumping of groundwater, and perhaps even to stop irrigation entirely on lands where growing water-intensive crops makes "no sense".

The FBEN partnered with several groups in Vermont to author and adapt these resources to help farmers with agritourism and on-farm activities.

A well-written and informative booklet for ensuring the safety and well-being of summer student hires, farm interns, and young farm workers. 

Authors, educators, and activists team up to offer a spring course at UC Berkeley. Guest lecturers include Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Marion Nestle, Eric Schlosser, Raj Patel and more. 
Amherst, MA
August 14-16

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Shelburne Farms is the coordinating organization for the FBEN.