Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sow it Forward: Grant Opportunity

Are you a non-profit organization (school, church, food pantry, community garden or senior program) interested in starting or expanding a food garden project? Then take advantage of this garden grant and click HERE and apply today!  Sow it Forward has partnered with Kitchen Gardner's International  to provide this grant for nonprofit causes.  These $600 grants break down as follows: 

  • $300 cash grant paid in 2 installments
  • $200 giftcard to Gardner's Supply Co. 
  • $55 vegetable seed package from the Ark Institute
  • $25 one-year subscription to KGI online garden planner courtesy of GrowVeg.com
  • $20 value garden book via Storey Publishing 
Please register and sign into the KGI website via the links in the upper right corner of this page.

Return to the Sow if Forward page (under the grants tab) and the application questions will magically appear below.

Answer all the questions. If you would like to prepare some of your answers offline (which we recommend) and paste them into the form below, you can access a text version of the main questions here.

Prepare a project photo for uploading from your computer. Our preference is for a large photo with a horizontal orientation (at least 1000 pixels wide, see examples here, here, and here) showing people in action, ideally in a garden or future garden setting. For gardens that haven't been dug, you can upload a picture or drawing of the future garden site. 2MB maximum.

Submit your application by midnight Eastern time Friday, 11 January 2013. Grant decisions will be communicated on February 1st with grant packs (checks, seeds, gift certificates, books, etc.) mailed shortly thereafter.

For any questions pertaining to this grant contact Roger Doiron at roger@kgi.org.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This holiday season, give your favorite student(s) an extra special lunch to help spread Christmas cheer! These creative recipes incorporate many fruits and vegetables that make for a perfect healthy lunch. Which Christmas themed lunch would you try to make?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Arbor Day Celebrations

Arbor Day Celebration and Family Fun Event

When: December 8, 2012
Where: Haribson State Forest Education Center
5600 Broad River Road, Columbia, SC 
How Much: FREE! Including Lunch!

On-Going Happenings

Plant a tree- Celebrate Arbor Day by planting a longleaf seedling in the State Forest. Plant it well and you should be able to come check on your growing tree for years to come!

Project Learning Tree Fun Hike- Enjoy hiking the 0.7 mile Learning Trail, and be sure to stop at the interactive learning stations set up along it's length. There is a station for every age, and on many tree related topics. 


10:30 Carolina Wildlife Care- Come meet Luna the barred owl and other animals as you learn about forests as habitats and wildlife rehabilitation. Meet at the Fire Tower Shelter. 

12:00 Fire in the Forest- Did you know we have 3,000 wildfires in SC every year? Learn how the SC Forestry Commission protects forests and property from these fires. See fire fighting equipment in action, and learn how they fight fire with fire. Meet at the Fire Tower Shelter. 

1:30 Mountain Biking Workshop- One benefit of forests is great recreation. Sharpen your trail biking skills at this workshop lead by the Friends of Harbison State Forest. Young and old, bring your bike and helmet. Meta at the Gazebo. 

Arbor Day at the Carolina Children's Garden
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Celebrate Arbor Day in the Carolina Children's Garden at the Clemson Sandhill REC (900 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC). Ceremonial tree planting at 11:30 am and free seedlings to the first 100 children. For more information about the Carolina Children's Garden, visit www.carolinachildrensgarden.org. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Healthy Holiday Cooking Class

Make sure to bring your children to the Healthy Holiday Cooking Class this Sunday from 1 - 3 pm at Lake Murray After School Academy in Irmo, SC. Kids will learn to make low-sugar Cranberry Fizz Drinks, Reindeer Cookie Bites, Santa Spiral Sandwiches, and Jingle Bell Elf Skewers! This event is for kids ages 5 to 13. Child volunteers will help make these fun foods and everyone gets recipes to take home. Bring your friends! This is a FUN way to kick off the holidays! Register at http://activecarolina2.moonfruit.com/

Annie's Garden Grant Application

Could your school garden use some extra money to purchase gardening tools, seeds or other needed supplies? Annie's is taking applications for their Grants for Gardens from K-12 schools.  Applications are due DECEMBER 15, 2012 so apply HERE

Monday, November 26, 2012

School Garden Online Courses

The National Teacher Institute for Garden-Based Learning is hosting a series of Online Courses in 2013. Based on multiple on-site courses delivered at Longwood Gardens, this online global classroom offers you the best of both worlds in gardening education. The classes provide you with creative and practical ways to augment classroom curriculum, while inspiring a new generation of learners who value plants and stewardship of the environment. Teachers, administrators, volunteers, and community youth educators are encouraged to participate!

For more information on the courses or registration process visit the Longwood Gardens website!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Join Gardening for Good for their 1st annual 
Community Garden Symposium

Keynote by Dr. David Bradshaw
"35 Years of Gardening without Chemicals"

Workshops led by Master Gardeners and local experts
Check out the full agenda HERE.

Only $20 for a full-day of community garden training.
No gardening experience required.

Register HERE

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Garden Grant Opportunity

The Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant deadline is getting close: November 15, 2012.  To be eligible for the $2,000 School Garden Grant, an applicant must be a nonprofit K-12 school (public, private or charter) and/or a 501 (c)(3) organization that is developing or currently maintaining a garden project on school grounds that will engage children with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Garden projects may be at any stage of development (planning, construction or operation). In selecting grant recipients, priority will be given to both limited-resource communities and to projects that demonstrate strong buy-in from stakeholders, as well as demonstrating ability to financially sustain the garden.

To apply visit the Whole Kids Foundation Website.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meadow Glen Middle School in Lexington, SC had a great harvest of greens from their school garden. They had so many they decided to use them in a brownie recipe and teachers said the kids loved them! Below are some pictures of the kids making their brownies and a recipe for you to try at home! See if your kids like the brownies with our secret ingredient!

Deceptively Delicious Brownies
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Yield: 12 brownies

Nonstick cooking spray
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup carrot puree (After peeling and trimming the ends, steam for 10-12 minutes and then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
1/2 cup spinach puree (Steam for 30 to seconds, then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup oat flour, or all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame.

In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

These brownies are low in calories (only 133 per brownie) and saturated fat. They're also packed with 3 grams of fiber (which is just crazy for a brownie!), while spinach and carrots provide two powerful antioxidants that help your kids' eyes stay healthy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 Subaru Healthy Sprouts Award

Children today spend more time in the virtual world than the natural world. How can we expect the next generation to care for the environment if they feel disconnected from it and lack understanding about the impact of their actions on our health and food supply, both locally and globally? One solution: Get them in the garden!

For the past 3 years, the Subaru Healthy Sprouts Award has recognized and supported youth gardening programs focused on teaching about our environment, nutrition and hunger issues in the United States. Through winning programs, youth will learn the skills necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle compatible with environmental stewardship and gain an understanding of how their actions can positively impact the wellbeing of their community.

To be eligible for the 2012 Healthy Sprouts Awards, your school or organization must plan to garden in 2013 with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18. The selection of winners is based on the demonstrated relationship between the garden program and education related to environmental, nutrition and hunger issues in the United States.

Applications are due on October 31, 2012.  Click here to learn more about the application process.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Eat. Think. Grow.

Your School Garden is planted and growing, what next?  There is learning to be done. Here is a helpful resource for a great selection of school garden activities.  Not only are they broken down by grade level (5K- 5th Grade), they are also sectioned off by season.  Each lesson is about life cycles, and living and non-living things are abundant. There are observations to be made about diversity in plants and animals, and within the environment. There is data to collect, harvest to gather, and cooking to do. Use these lessons to get your classroom involved in your school garden and to help them eat, think, and grow!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Roots, Shoots and Rudy

An Afternoon with Rudy Mancke

World Renowned Naturalist

Sunday, October 7, 2012, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM,

Carolina Children's Garden

Sandhill Research and Education Center
900 Clemson Road

Light Refreshments and Silent Auction

Membership and individual ticket: $50.00

Membership and couple’s tickets: $60.00

Children 4-12 free (activities will be provided)

Please signify number of adults and children attending.

Memberships only (if you are unable to attend):

Individual-$25.00; Family-$45.00; Corporate-$250+

Limited space available.

RSVP by September 22 to perry8@clemson.edu

This is an important fundraiser for the CCG;

it takes more than water to make the garden grow!

Please join us by becoming a member! All donations to this 501(c) 3 are tax deductible and may be sent to:

Friends of the Children’s Garden

Clemson University Sandhill REC
Post Office Box 23205
Columbia, South Carolina 29224

Fall Plant Sale

Heathwood Hall Episcopal School is hosting their Fall Plant Sale Friday, September 28th 8:00-5:00 and Saturday, September 29th 9:00-12:00 at the Robert Clark Greenhouse (3000 South Beltline Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29201).  All the plants are grown on campus by their students and there will be 1,500+ perennials and shrubs starting at $4.00 a plant. View their online catalog beforehand!

Fall in South Carolina is the best time to plant perennials. While the days are warm, the nights are cool allowing plants to develop a vigorous root structure before the next summer. Whether you need color for shade or sun, wet or dry areas, or even shrubs for the ‘bones’ of your gardens, Heathwood's fall plants sale has something for you.

For more information contact Todd Beasley beasleyt@heathwood.org.

Monday, September 17, 2012

October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between schools and local food! The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) has developed resources and activities for Farm to School Month that are available on www.farmtoschoolmonth.org.
Here are three things you can do NOW to prepare for October:

Participate in "Farm to School Counts" by pledging to serve local food and participate in Farm to School activities during October. Everyone who enters a pledge and completes the follow-up survey will be entered to win a cash prize for his or her program!
Are you hosting a Farm to School Month event? Put your event on the map!

Make sure you are ready for photo opportunities and events! Order t-shirts, aprons, "I ate local" stickers, posters and more from the Farm to School Month shops.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Holly Harring at harrinha@dhec.sc.gov.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Many of our Farm to School recipients have done really well with incorporating all aspect of the program.  This article displays the success of  school district 4 in Anderson County.  The grant they received from the state of South Carolina has helped enhance six schools and teach numerous students the importance of agriculture and eating healthy.

Farm to School is growing in popularity nationwide, with a focus on serving students fresh fruits and vegetables grown on local farms. South Carolina’s program is a joint effort between the state’s Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute. Their efforts, coupled with the blooming interest among school districts and communities, are bringing local farm products into school nutrition programs.

To stay up to date with the South Carolina Farm to School program and hear more success stories, like Anderson County, visit the website, follow Farm to School on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School

It's that time of year, again.  School bells are ringing, mothers are cheering and students are excited groaning.  School supply lists are never ending; pencils, paper, notebooks, book bags, lunch boxes, etc... As you are crossing items off your list, are you considering what grocery list you will be making to fill your student's lunch box? Sadly, we are facing the highest level of childhood obesity in our Nation's history. One- third of the Nation's children are carrying too much weight. ONE-THIRD. While we can write off excuses for this problem, it simply comes down to our children not eating right and not getting the proper amount of exercise. 

The SC School Garden's program is designed to teach students where their food comes from and hopefully instill healthy eating habits in them. While we are doing our part within the schools, it is also important for them to be hearing the same things at home.  Start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your families meals and encourage your children to put down the remote and get outside and play.

To help make this transition easy we have lots of great school lunch ideas for you to use this year. It is important to keep a variety of ingredients stocked in your kitchen.  Try to mix up the lunch menu and offer your students new things to try.

  • Nut butters (almond, peanut and sunflower are great choices)
  • Cheddar, mozzarella or your favorite cheese (sticks, bricks, shredded or slices)
  • Pesto (goes great with pasta, rice, quinoa, or as a sandwich spread)
  • Pasta (a variety of shapes and even colors like ziti, macaroni, rotini or more)
  • Bananas, apple slices, pear slices, peach slices, grapes etc.
  • Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes etc.
  • Dehydrated, freeze dried or dried fruit (you can even mix with granola and dark chocolate chips)
  • Yogurt (try adding nuts and honey to plain greek yogurt)
  • Bread (whole wheat pitas, english muffins, tortillas or your favorite sandwich bread)

School lunches can be a lot of fun.  Try cutting sandwiches in different shapes.  Rotate between salads, crackers with cheese and meat, sandwiches, pasta, etc. Help your student want to eat healthy!

Happy New School Year! We hope it is a great one! Please share you lunch ideas with us, too! Hope they are successful with your student!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Garden Mini-grants for Teachers

In an effort to teach school children that agriculture is an integral part of our everyday environment, the SC Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher program will offer a classroom garden mini-grant program for teachers in public and private schools.

The mini-grant program will provide a $500 mini-grant to a school in each of the four South Carolina Farm Bureau districts for teachers who qualify through an application process.

Teachers must design a project garden that contains production agriculture crops such as wheat, corn, oats, peanuts, fruit and/or garden vegetables. Goals and objectives must be clearly stated and measurable, and the project must directly involve their students.

In addition, the project must be advised by a county Farm Bureau volunteer leader, preferably a Young Farmer and Rancher member, county Farm Bureau Board member, or county Women’s Committee member.

Proposals must be submitted on a SCFB mini-grant application form which is available at county Farm Bureau offices or by clicking here. Deadline for applications is October 1 and applicants may submit only one proposal per year. Mail to PO Box 754, Columbia, SC 29202 or fax to 803.936.4452.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Smart Gardener

Are you a teacher looking to start a garden at your school?  Are you a teacher that is looking for guidance with an existing school garden?  Smart Gardener is an excellent resource to help you with every step in getting your school garden started and maintaining it. 

Once you sign up for Smart Gardener you will receive assistance in:
  • Setting up your garden
  • Selecting your plants
  • Creating your smart garden plan
  • Receiving weekly to-dos

"Smart Gardener is uniquely positioned to give consumers exactly what they need to easily grow their own healthy, organic vegetables. Smart Gardener is built with proprietary IP and delivers consumers highly personalized tools and garden plans based on key inputs including geo-location and household size. Our service is also differentiated by a complex weather mapping algorithm, an extremely rich database of over 500 plants, as well as ecommerce to purchase the best organic seeds available online."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Strawberry-Peach Fruit Leather

While it is important to teach student where their food comes from, we also want to instill in them the importance of eating healthy.  This simple recipe is a great snack to share with students and parents and is delicious to eat!

Strawberry-Peach Fruit Leather

2 Cups Certified SC Strawberries
2 Certified SC Peaches
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Agave

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Puree fruit in a food processor.  Add in lemon juice and agave, blend until smooth.

Line two baking sheets with parchment and spread the mixture on baking sheets.

 Bake for 4 hours; checking every 30 minutes. When finished let cool and then cut into strips.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to Grow Potatoes in a Bucket

What do you think about growing Potatoes in a Bucket?

The School Garden program offers a lot of ideas and teachers have done such a wonderful job with getting their students involved in gardening. We have a great idea for this upcoming year that we are sure students will love: growing potatoes in a bucket! This is a great excercise to teach them how potatoes grow and will be an easy, fun way to harvest! You may also want to use this video that teaches the process through a fun and catchy song! Good luck!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From Field to Fair

The South Carolina State Fair is introducing a new program, From Field to Fair, designed to educate, entertain and motivate consumers about the wonders – and the profound importance – of agriculture in South Carolina. Children are a large target within this program and will have the opportunity to become "Ambassadors of Agriculture."  With parental assistance, they can download and print off a Passport to Sustainability. In order to fill their passport with stamps, children must complete all 15 agricultural themed games on the From Field to Fair website.  At the completion of each game, they will be provided with a printable certificate with a cut-out to place in their passport. 

Once the passport has been completed bring it to the SC Department of Agriculture's exhibit at the SC State Fair (October 10-21, 2012) to be initiated.  Each child will receive a blue ribbon, a special picture and will get to participate in hands-on activities within the exhibit. 

This is a great program designed to connect children, and adults, with the source of their food and the process it takes in getting it to consumers.  So many people have been disconnected from this process.  Take part in "From Field to Fair" to learn more about South Carolina Agriculture and the importance it plays within our State!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Building Healthier Children

The SC School Gardens Program is an excellent tool for educating children on the many componates of agriculture.  Students across the state are learning the process of how their food is grown and the importance of buying and eating local.  All students are familiarizing themselves with the Certified SC logo and brand.  The outcome of this program has been extremely positive and will only conitunue to grow.  The Times and Democrates in Orangeburg, SC released an article that proves that educational programs in agriculture are a great success in South Carolina.

This article also introduces a new program sponsored by the SC State Fair called "From Field to Fair." This is an excellent tool to use and offers interactive programs for children.  Make sure to visit their website for more information.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

School Gardens Workshop

Last week, the SC Department of Agriculture hosted a School Gardens Workshop at the Phillips Market Center at the State Farmers Market.  Guests were able to rotate between different work stations and gain ideas to help improve the programs at their schools.  After lunch, everyone visited the school garden at Heathwood Hall, in Columbia, SC. It was a successful day! Keep an eye out for other educational opportunities that could help better programs at your schools!

Pictures from the Day!