HINCKLEY — MeANS hosted the Maine School Garden Day, organized by the Maine School Garden Network, the last weekend in April, according to a news release from the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Hill-Hinckley.
More than 100 participants filled the building to be part of this ninth annual event exploring techniques to incorporate gardening into the school curriculum as well as offering informative presentations related to gardening methods.
Roger Doiron, founder of the nonprofit SeedMoney and the man responsible for successfully petitioning for the replanting of the kitchen garden at the White House during the Obama administration, was the keynote speaker.
Participants, who came from schools across Maine, chose from a variety of seminars, including discussions covering bees and native pollinators, rice growing, pest control, tomato planting and orchard establishment. There was even a time for energy-renewal with Garden Yoga, led by Nicole Gurreri of FoodCorps.
MeANS gave its own host presentations, with student-led talks in the aquaponics greenhouse, discussing plans for the One Acre Farm. Inside the building, Grace Hilmer and Danni Best presented a brief overview of the program at the school.
Erika Verrier, the organizer of the event, summed it up, “I’m so thankful for my village of garden people, some of the best people I know! It was refreshing to experience so many uplifting stories and positive energy and have a day of learning at a truly wonderful school,” according to the release.
The school currently operates two greenhouses on the Good-Will Hinckley campus, one focused on aquaponics year round, and one a seasonal in-ground greenhouse. Joe Schmalzel has been managing the greenhouses and MeANS’ agricultural efforts since the fall of 2018 and with the aid of a small group of students has established partnerships with the Colby cafeteria and several restaurants in the Waterville area.
The program has also partnered with Thomas College’s Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation to help students see the possibilities for enterpreneurial futures in the Mid Maine area.