GOT Farms School Garden and Greenhouse

For the latest on our school garden and greenhouse, click HERE.

GOT Farms School Garden

Frequently Asked Questions –

  • How do we care for our garden in the summer?

Students and GOT Farms advisers plant and care for the garden until the last day of the school year.  During summer vacation, our garden is cared for regularly by community volunteers.  For each of the weeks of the summer, we have a “garden master” paired with a local business sponsor.  The garden masters guide volunteers from the business for a few gardening sessions during their week of sponsorship.  These volunteers do an amazing job of caring for the garden and they also work with student volunteers and other community members to harvest the produce.

2012 GOT FARMS GARDEN MASTERS:

BONNIE POOLEY, KATHLEEN DEVORE, JEAN BASS, JACKIE CRESSY, JANET BARTLETT, NANCY DAVIS, LORRIE HOEH, MARTHA SIEGEL, SUZANNE DUNHAM, JESSIE PERKINS, AND ANNA SYSKO

2012 GOT FARMS BUSINESS SPONSORS:

TRUE NORTH ADVENTUREWARE, THE EDDY MIDDLE SCHOOL, BETHEL MANE HOSTEL, GOOD FOOD STORE, BARTLETT FUNNY FARM, NORTHEAST BANK, BETHEL BIKE SHOP, SAD #44 ADULT EDUCATION, THE BETHEL INN, AND DICOCOA’S CAFE AND BAKERY _________________________________________________

2011 GOT FARMS GARDEN MASTERS:

KATHLEEN DEVORE, BONNIE POOLEY, SARA SOUTHAM, MARTHA SIEGEL, KATE GOLDBERG, MIA PURCELL, AND NANCY DAVIS.

2011 GOT FARMS BUSINESS SPONSORS:

THE BETHEL INN, BEAR RIVER TRADING, NORTHEAST BANK, TRUE NORTH ADVENTUREWARE, SONGO POND MINE, SAD #44 ADULT EDUCATION, BETHEL BICYCLE, GAUDREAU’S AUTO REPAIR, THE GOOD FOOD STORE, AND DICOCOA’S CAFE AND BAKERY _________________________________________________

2010 GOT FARMS GARDEN MASTERS:

BONNIE POOLEY, KATHLEEN DEVORE, SARA SOUTHAM, NANCY DAVIS, GINNY GAMBLE, JACKIE CRESSY, LORRIE HOEH, MARTHA SIEGEL, RUTH BARRETT, AND KATE GOLDBERG

2010 GOT FARMS BUSINESS SPONSORS:

HOMESLICE PIZZA, BEAR RIVER TRADING, BETHEL BIKE SHOP, NORTHEAST BANK, THE GOOD FOOD STORE, HANDLEN REALTY, SUNDAY RIVER REAL ESTATE, HEALTHY OXFORD HILLS, AND TRUE NORTH ADVENTUREWARE _________________________________________________

  • How was this plan organized?

In April 2010, some G.O.T. Farms students and teachers attended a forum of Bethel-area non-profit organizations.  This event connected community groups that shared similar goals.  We connected with the Western Mountains Senior College to join youth and elders in the community through the garden partnership.  They agreed to help provide the garden masters, and G.O.T. Farms students and advisers agreed to find local business sponsors.

We also connected with a community group promoting local foods and met with them again in June 2010 at the Bryant Pond 4H camp. This meeting, facilitated by the Center for Civic Leadership, resulted in a plan for an event in September 2010 to celebrate local foods and school gardens.  This event – “The Fantastic Food Frenzy”  – was held at the Telstar gymnasium on Friday, September 17th, from 6-7:30pm.  It was a free public supper featuring food grown and prepared by students, live music performed by students, and educational garden displays from several western Maine educational gardens. To learn more about the Fantastic Food Frenzy, click HERE.  We have continued collaborating with this group as we work to promote local organic foods in our community.

  • What happens to the food that is harvested?

The top priority for the food from our garden is our school lunchroom.  Students work together to harvest our produce and deliver it to our cafeteria so it can be served in our salad bar.

Suznne Dunham, a local cook and herbalist who serves as a volunteer G.O.T. Farms advisor, has worked with students to prepare a medicinal balm with some herbs from our garden and she has also helped to organize and lead cooking classes where students can learn to cook with the food they grow in the garden and greenhouse.  Suzanne began working with our group during our first year, and she continues to be an invaluable member of our team, providing expertise to help us make the best use of the harvest.

During the summer, all the food that can be preserved is processed by students and G.O.T. Farms advisors for use in the lunchroom and in local public supper events.

We have also partnered with the “Friends of the Food Pantry” organization to get our perishable produce served to the community.  At the end of each month, they hold a free public supper at the Bethel Alliance Church building, which is right across the street from Telstar.  On the days of the public supper events in June, July, and August, student volunteers, G.O.T. Farms advisers, garden volunteers, and other community members harvest and prepare food from the garden for the meal and they also volunteer at the public suppers.

Any food that can’t be preserved for the lunchroom or served at a public supper event has been delivered to the residents of local retirement housing complexes through a partnership with the Bethel Alliance Church.   With their help, our excess produce never goes to waste.

  • How is this project funded?
At the 2009 Telstar Middle School ArtReach fundraising event, students raised $1,200 for the project.  Since then, we have been awarded additional grant funding through the USDA, Lowe’s Hardware Store, and through a University of Maine Cooperative Extension grant through a ESY 8 National 4-H Council Rural Development/USDA grant.
  • How did the school garden get started?

To learn more about how our garden project began, check out this page:  School Garden Update – May 2010