Parents are hoping to expand the gardening programs at all Scituate schools with the help of a private, competitive $10,000 grant.
The stakes have been high since Jenkins Elementary School PTO member Annmarie Galvin last week put the school’s name in the ring for the money, and parents have been out in force encouraging fellow residents to vote for and nominate Scituate schools.
According to Galvin, the grant process was opened in late October, and local parents didn’t discover the event until mid-November.
Yet the opportunity seemed too good to pass up, Galvin said, especially as several of Scituate’s elementary schools are already maintaining their own gardens and growing their own produce.
“Jenkins has an active food garden, the others have varying degrees, and so [the grant is to] bring everyone up to par,” Galvin said.
As a result, Galvin put Scituate's name in, with only a few days left for locals to vote.
The grant is one of 12 grants available nationwide through the Seeds Of Change “Share The Good” grant program.
According to the company's website, the organization has chosen to donate one percent of their its sales to non-profits or community organizations hoping to enlighten others on food and agriculture education.
While the split of the $10,000 has yet to be nailed down, Galvin said a preliminary breakdown of the funding could have $1,000 going to all the elementary schools to expand the work they are already doing.
An additional $5,000 would go to Gates Intermediate School to revive the now stagnant garden there and to offer a curriculum to accompany the program.
“It’s to get all 7th and 8th grade science classes doing hands on curriculum, but also [develop] an after school club that would produce fresh food for Scituate Food Pantry,” Galvin said.
The remaining $1,000 would go to Scituate High School to implement curriculum and possibly another garden there.
Galvin believes the template is already there for this type of work, most notably in Jenkins School, with help from Holly Hill Farm.
The program has already been successful, with Jenkins hosted a “Rainbow lunch” during Food Day this past year, utilizing produce grown by children at the school.
Holly Hill is also continually partnering with Jenkins School to develop curriculum and teach children how agriculture works.
“But it’s a small amount, so the idea is to make it bigger and more meaningful,” Galvin said. “We really are a perfect fit for the grant. They are talking about making these types of connections…[everyone] is benefiting from it. It really is an affordable program for schools to get started.”
Locals must vote for an organization on the Seeds Of Change website, but with such a short time span for promotion and voting, Galvin isn’t sure about the town's chances of winning.
“It’s possible. I’ve gotten a lot of emails today of people forwarding it and submitting it,” Galvin said.
According to the website, the number of unique online nominations will be considered by judges in the review process.
To vote, visit this website.
Fill out your Personal Information, then in the "Community Farm/Garden/Organization Name" please write:
Organization Name: Jenkins School Garden/Town of Scituate
Proprietor Name: Jenkins PTO
*One entity was required for the application - so please list Jenkins, even though the funds will be shared by all schools*
Leave the next four questions blank - they have been completed as part of the grant application already.