School Pages


Weekly Worm Newsletter

Resource Room
(Educational Links)

Class Lab

Garden Project

Photo Garden

Curriculum/ Garden
Belfast Schools

Garden Project News Articles

Growing Minds

Molded Gourds and Much More

Hands are the Best Learning Tools

Educational Fair 2009

Weaving a Twig Hut

Maine Arts Grant Awarded

Our Garden in Down East Magazine

President and Our Garden

Growing Points

THMS gardeners dig deep

THMS earn Ribbons- 2008

Garden Club Visits

Growing Fresh Greens Presentation

Bean Hole Beans '07

THMS Harvest Reaps Ribbons  2007

Country Classroom

Scott's Teacher of the Year Award

Academic Fair  2007

NGA Nat. Award 2007

Sub-Zero Healthy Greens

Teacher Travels to Cuba

Weaving a Community

The Customers Ate My Homework

This how our garden grows

Students Sell at Coop

A Taste for Learning

Our Harvest Lunch   

Head Start Visit

Garden Articles

P. Press: Growing Trends

Master Gardeners Cut Flowers

Strong Bodies and Minds

Nat. Teachers of the Year:

Greenhouse Models

Greenhouse Models in Library

Education Weekly 

Reading, Writing, Weeding and Seeding

Schools lend a green thumb

Students Serve the Governor

Agricultural Grant

MAITC Conference & Awards

Foundation Scholarship

MAITC Teacher of the Year

Food Links

Maine Folklife Center


garden facebookThe THMS Garden Project
Belfast, Maine

It's All Happening on our Facebook Page.  Friend your fellow school gardeners for year round up to date happenings and don't forget to check out the cam once in a while to see who's in the

Come see what's been going on in our outdoor classroom:  Life & Learning: The School Garden Blog             Contact Jon Thurston for for More Details


Troy Howard Middle School Garden Webcams

  Camera 1 - Click on the image
Camera 2 - Click on the image  

Downeast Magazine exhibit at theBelfast Free Library featuring the THMS  Garden Project created by photographer and friend Jennifer Smith-Mayo. The Belfast Coop is now advertising: " heirloom seeds from Belfast's Troy Howard Middle School Seed Saving Program.....Our local produce supply currently consists of root crops, chard and mesclun from Troy Howard.....That's right, we are all eating more locally!"

Read All About It...Troy Howard Middle School hosts final open garden tour

See how Belfast Middle School students grow an education:

-Photo Class in the Garden with Lynn Karlin  Playing Here Now

-A Wonderful Year in the Garden 2008-2009

Playing Here Now

-Read this case study on the Seed Division Art work in the Garden Project:

Five Reasons Arts Education Is Essential to Sustainability
  written by the Center for Ecoliteracy.

photo class
Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability portrays the growing sustainability movement in K-12 education, showcasing the THMS Garden Project in Belfast, Maine.

THMSCompost Division


Composting Video

Learning to turn food waste into gold.

THMSSeed Division
Watching a tiny grain turn into a 12' sunflower is something you can't experience on a computer.

Click Here  Seed Order 2010
THMS Seed Inventory

THMS Garden Stand Division

ede pick
Students practice responsibility in the community we live in  by working with the Belfast Coop, Soup Kitchen, Farmer's Market, area restaurants and the School District Lunch programs.   
Sustainable Cuban Ag. Photos  Hoop House Project  Hoop House Prototype  THMS at Philadelphia Flower  THMS Garden Movie 2008   THMS Garden Movie 2007-8 Summer/ Fall 2007 Photo Album THMS Garden Movie 2006-7  Garden Project in Pictures 2006-7   THMS Garden Movie 2005  Fall Garden in Pictures 2005 -6
Garden Videos is  Here :

Extra, extra.....Read all about it:
 Living Green at Troy Howard

also.......  THMS Community News

The Troy Howard Middle School Garden Project

Garden and Greenhouse Project Summary 

The Purpose

    To grow empowered-academically successful young people who integrate sustainability into their lives by producing and learning to satisfy their needs locally.  View our Garden Brochure.

Mission Statement 
     Our mission is to create a district wide agricultural project that promotes healthy living. At the Troy Howard Middle School we strive to integrate the school and its land with the community.
     Our goal is to engage all students in a journey of discovery through gardening projects that achieve Maine science, math, technology and social studies learning results, produce nutritious food and pioneer action-research for sustainability Curriculum Overview.  At the heart of the gardening program are the young people excited by making a real difference in their school and community.

     The program provides RSU 20 educators a framework and activities that integrate gardening and our watershed within the curriculum. This is being achieved through teacher development workshops, school-community partnerships and in-class teaching that facilitates inquiry-based student projects producing compost, earthworms, organic food, seeds, seedlings, knowledge and skills to share and sell, student-run businesses and community apprenticeships - that grow empowered, academically successful young people. 

Beginning the Year
    Students start each school year in a one week Farmer's Market Training, comprised of 35 learning and assessment stations.  Since the fall is such a busy time in the garden, students begin their Garden Apprenticeship the first day of class and attempt to have as many different experiences as they can.  At the end of the eight week apprenticeship students are ready to interview for a position in one of the garden divisions.  Specific job responsibilities are created as the students define their interests and abilities.


     The Troy Howard Middle School Garden Project encompasses an outdoor learning experience by providing a school-wide garden and greenhouse project in which all children in Regional School Unit 20 (RSU #20) can participate. The garden project was established in 2001-2002.  Each year the garden project has expanded to include the involvement of more students and staff.  The greenhouse was built in the summer of 2002 and the farm stand was completed the following spring.
     The purpose of the garden is to allow the students to learn experientially through an integrated curriculum.   Concepts such as where our food comes from, how to grow, harvest and prepare vegetables and fruit and the key to healthy soils and choices are developed.   Since it’s inception, this project has gained the attention of the media, community members and other school districts.  It is seen as both a regional and national model for school agricultural programs. 

    This project has gone through three major phases of development, with each step bringing more pride and excitement to the program.   The outdoor learning environment has expanded with trails, a pond and streams project, apple tree restoration and an heirloom seed garden.  All of these projects are located on the 86 acre Troy A. Howard Middle School site in Belfast, Maine.

     The garden provides nutritious, whole foods that are used district-wide in the school lunch program.  In 2002, approximately 4000 pounds of food were harvested.  Of that 1785 pounds, valued at $985, were incorporated into the school food services menus.  Some of the food produced were donated to local soup kitchens and food pantries thereby teaching community responsibility and social awareness. 
    The remaining produce was sold at the THMS Farmer’s Market to RSU 20 families and the community (or given directly to students) and the local food Coop, thereby creating a small source of revenue to reinvest in the project. In 2003 -2010, our students grew another 48,600 lbs. of food for distribution.  This fall we've had a wonderful harvest of over one-hundred vegetable varieties well exceeding one ton.  The garden is also a supplier to various home economics lessons and has turned into a hotbed of year round math challenges .

     The greenhouse was planted for the first time in the fall of 2002.  A variety of herbs, vegetables and flowers are grown from seeds or starts.  Fresh greens are sold to the district cafeteria program, local food coop, through the school farm stand and to individual staff through the winter months.  Two unheated hoop houses are also maintained to provide additional greens for our local soup kitchen and to hold a large underground worm bin for all of the school's left over food and paper waste. The hoops houses were designed and built by the gardeb students and has become a place for student research.

     The Garden Project affords the students the opportunity to work collaboratively, solve problems as a team and foster a strong sense of self-confidence while gaining an appreciation for the value of agriculture.   Staff utilize the garden and greenhouse for projects with students in the areas of art, plant experimentation, math, earth science, Maine history, writing  & research, nutrition and economics.  A mentoring program has also been established which pairs 7th & some 8th grade students with younger students from various local elementary schools.

Pizza Tomatoes The Pizza Garden has flourished, providing all of the ingredients needed to make a delicious pizza (all we need is a water buffalo to provide us milk for mozzarella cheese). 

Bean-hole-beans are prepared from the Maine History Garden, researched and designed by students in an attempt to make a connection with Maine's agricultural history. 

The Maine Laptop Initiative has been a big help in moving the garden project forward.  As part of the seventh grade economics program, students run businesses utilizing the laptops for research and interviews, designing brochures, maintaining a garden database/ spreadsheet, building web pages, creating multimedia presentations, business cards and garden catalogs.

     Discussions are ongoing with the RSU 20 Food Service Manager, the Belfast Food Co-Op, soup kitchens and food pantries regarding their needs for produce.  We provide fresh, naturally grown produce for each of these services.  The students also manage a beautiful garden stand which sells to the local school community.   Master Gardeners, University Extension Service and MOFGA have also offered their professional expertise to support THMS Garden Project.

     Our cut flower garden has brought much pleasure to many of our classrooms with the constant supply of fresh flowers they provide.  This was begun as a Master Gardener Project  by Anna Kessler and  Lynn Pussic, Master Gardener Volunteers.
    Start up funds and supplies for the Troy Howard Middle School Garden project came from grants, local donations and RSU 20 financial and human resources.  The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, USDA, Cornell and local experts have provided technical assistance.  Our community friends have been the key to making this project grow.  Student dedication and perserverance running the program has been its greatest strength

Most Recently

     Feeding humans is not where it ends at the Troy Howard Middle School.  Our most recent efforts involve working to re-establish the natural habitat that once flourished on our 86 acre school grounds.   This has led students to work towards building a bird sanctuary, raising and harvesting wheat for bread, developing seed-saving technologies, practicing greenhouse chemistry, building a demonstration forest program, creating a pond irrigation system and perfecting a thermal solar hoop house and cooking structure .  Our school will continue to reach out in an effort to build partnerships with the local agricultural community and professional support persons.

    The Troy Howard Middle School Garden Program will grow young people with the knowledge, values and practical skills to grow food.  Our staff strives to empower-academically successful young people who integrate sustainability into their lives learning to satisfy their needs locally.  The curriculum attempts to integrate core, traditional subjects and state assessments through hands-on engagement.

Please   click here   to e-mail us for more information :-)

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