June 2015

Dear Network Members and Friends,


It was a long wait, but spring decided to come after all.  With the season's change, our sense of excitement about the work you're doing to advance the field of farm-based education was renewed. This spring, I spoke with members in the beautiful southern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, in the slowly thawing region of upstate New York, and with many in between who are asking thoughtful questions about how they can have the greatest impact on the communities they serve. We are fortunate this month to share one program's exploration of breadth and depth in their work through an article below. 


Wishing a summer full of learning for you and for the thousands of visitors you will serve on your farms! 



Vera Simon-Nobes (Coordinator) and the FBEN team  

Balancing Depth and Breadth at Live Earth

Jessica Ridgeway talks about Live Earth Farm Discovery Program in one of their Watsonville, CA gardens. March 2015.

The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program in Watsonville, CA is doing some strategic planning, and one question they are digging into is how to balance in-depth programming for fewer students with less intensive programming for more students. "For a small organization of 3 staff it is a challenge to fund and offer both. If we focus on the in-depth, longer programs, we reach many fewer kids each year. If we only offer an introductory program to thousands of kids, our students may not demonstrate knowledge gain and behavior change," Program Director Jessica Ridgeway writes. We thought that Live Earth's strategic thinking around this question would be relevant to many of you, and Jessica kindly offered to share their processing in a short article.  Read more...

Avian Influenza

Chickens are often the heart and soul of farm-based education programs, so this spring's outbreak of avian influenza in the Midwest is particularly concerning. USDA veterinarians are recommending that farmers institute basic biosecurity measures, which may mean keeping free ranging poultry indoors. Why? Because wild birds carry the disease and put domestic poultry at risk.  Check out this USDA fact sheet or contact your state veterinarian for more information. Once you have a plan of action, please share what you're doing with us.

FBE Workshop Baraboo

Farm-based education will be highlighted at the Aldo Leopold Foundation conference this summer in Baraboo, WI thanks to FBEN member, Peggy Eppig. Peggy has lead the Mid-Atlantic FBEN since 2012 and is the Director of Natural Resources Education at the Maryland Ag Ed Foundation. Her presentation, "Farm-Based Education: Taking It to the Field" will explore the idea of farms as outdoor, living classrooms that provide students with experiential, real-world opportunities to engage in conservation and environmental education.

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, VA! Attendees will 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 conference schedule.

Farms for Veterans

Denise Beyers. (Photo: Laura Friend Photography)

After tours in Iraq and debilitating injuries, Marine Corps veterans, Denise and Mark Beyers, have recently found solace producing maple syrup, eggs and poultry on their East Aurora, New York farm. The ritual of tapping their maple trees provides a crucial connection with the slower rhythms of the natural world. "Farming provides a unique opportunity for soldiers to find peace and quiet, feed their community and their family, while restoring the farming heartland of this country," Michael O'Gorman, the founder and executive director of the Farmers Veteran Coalition, said. Read more about the Beyers in Sarah McColl's spring article in TakePart.

Time to Bee Serious


Andy Duback/AP
Last week, the Obama administration announced an exciting step towards protecting honey bees. The "National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators" promises to bee habitat as well as conduct research on a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids which are among the most widely used insecticides in the world and are thought to be contributing to the declining honey bee population. 

Funding Opportunities

The Cedar Tree Foundation makes grants in the areas of Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental Education, and Environmental Health. They do not take unsolicited proposals, but welcome letters of inquiry for U.S.-based work from non-profit organizations working within its program areas. 


The Harry Chapin Foundation funds U.S. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit programs that fall within the areas of Community Education, Arts-In-Education, and Agricultural and Environmental Programs. Grant sizes range from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $10,000. The Foundation Board meets three times a year on an as-needed basis. 

Missoula connects with Vietnam

Compost recipe

The University of Montana (UM) hosts the Economic Empowerment Exchange Program, a program of the U.S. Department of State that brings emerging leaders from around the world to the United States for intensive short-term fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise in media outlets, private sector business, non-profit organizations and much more. This spring, Nguyen Hue Phuong traveled from her home in Vietnam to Missoula, Montana, where she volunteered with the  Garden City Harvest Farm to School Program. According to Phuong, Garden City Harvest "encourages youth to explore connections between food, agriculture, science, and their everyday lives." Read Phuong's recent blog post reflecting on her short time with the program and motivation to continue farm to school education in her home country. 

Q&A with LL Equine

Lisa Loewen learned the therapeutic value of connecting to nature and sources of life from growing up on a farm, as well through studying the Biophilia Theory in her studies of psychology, Horticultural Therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy.  


Today she operates LL Equine, which offers a type of Animal Assisted Therapy which partners horses with people to facilitate a journey of personal healing and self discovery. Read about Lisa's beginnings with LL Equine. 

 Featured Photo

Sweet Pea and Ginger, resident goats at Polly's Preschool,
 Half Pint Farm, Dorchester, NH.
in this Issue
Breadth & Depth
Avian Flu
Workshop in Baraboo
Workshop, Williamsburg
Farms for Veterans
Bee Serious
Funding Opportunities
Cultural Exchange
Q&A Member Spotlight
Featured Photo
get involved
   FB_logotwitter bird
conversations and 
Michael Stone touts the benefits of environmental project-based learning, and encourages educators to put in the extra effort to reap the extra rewards.

Growing Minds Farm to School Bookshelf
Search their ever-growing database to find great recommendations for teaching about gardening, cooking, farms, or food. Find literature for the classroom, home, or even to start your own farm to school book collection!

How much food can be grown on urban farms? How much is being grown already? What are the advantages and disadvantages of urban farming? 

Exciting studies showing the health and economic impacts of institutional local purchasing!

From garden parties to cooking contests, farm visits to STEM lessons, farm to school programs all over the Northeast are sizzling! The Farm to School Recipes for Success contest features the top ten best projects, activities, lessons and ideas chosen from dozens of "recipes" submitted by schools and programs.


The FBEN partnered with several groups in Vermont to author and adapt these resources to help farmers with agritourism and on-farm activities.
Amherst, MA
August 14-16

Montreal, Canada
November 12 - 14

View events page for more!
job Opportunities
Santa Barbara, CA

Kirtland, OH


Ashfield, MA

Ipswich and Hamilton, MA

View jobs page for more!

Shelburne Farms is the coordinating organization for the FBEN.