by Sheila Dunning, UF/IFAS Extension Agent
Every year, shortly after school starts, the Extension office gets countless requests from teachers and school volunteers to assist with establishing a school garden. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is funding for materials and curriculum that is supported by Florida educational standards. Here’s an opportunity that just came out August 1, 2016. Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. (FAITC) is once again offering Teacher Grants and School Garden Grants to Florida pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and agri-science teachers seeking funding for projects that educate students about the source of their food, fiber and fuel.
Projects eligible for funding include: establishing new school gardens, maintaining existing school gardens, conducting an embryology project to educate students about the life cycle of chickens, establishing a classroom farm on paper to teach economics and more. Eligible applicants are Florida teachers who will use these projects to teach reading, writing, history, science, social studies, math and other disciplines. Teachers who have received a FAITC grant in the past can apply again if they submitted Final Reports for their previous grant projects. Teacher grant projects can include school gardens and animal science projects such as embryology, aquaculture and other such projects.
The Teacher Grant program strives to fund classroom projects that teach Florida school children about the importance of agriculture and introduce them to agricultural producers and representatives in their area. Applications for Teacher Grants are available at http://faitc.org/teacher-grant/. Six hard copies of the application must be mailed or hand delivered to the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom office on or before September 30, 2016. Only the first 40 completed applications will be accepted.
School Garden Grants can only be used for school gardens that grow edible fruits, vegetables and herbs. The $500 mini-grants are meant to supplement free curriculum that takes Florida teachers through the process of developing a school garden and includes lessons to help teachers use the garden to teach health, science, language arts, math and other subjects. Applications for the School Garden Grants are available at http://faitc.org/2016-2017-mini-school-garden-grants/. The grant application is an online form that takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Teachers, classroom assistants, school volunteers – apply for the Florida Teacher and School Garden Grants now so you can plan for next spring’s projects. Awards are given on a first-come, first-served basis for completed applications. Announcement of awards will be in November 2016 by e-mail.
Friday, Aug 12 10am – 1pm
Plant Clinic at 127 Hollywood Blvd., Ft. Walton Beach office.
Wednesday, Aug 17 10 – 11:30am
Gardening for Independence Seminar at 3098 Airport Rd, Crestview office.