Very discounted veggie starts at Petaluma Bounty

Here’s a message from our friends at Petaluma Bounty!!


We’re excited to offer our left-over Plant Sale starts at very discounted rates to local community and school gardens doing great things!

We’re trying to recuperate some of our costs while ensuring that these plants go to great causes, so we’ll be offering the plants by donation. We have asked for 50% of the original price in the past, and if you can afford that at this time, that would be great. But no one is turned away for lack of funds.

You are welcome to come to the Bounty Farm (55 Shasta Avenue, at Petaluma Blvd N), during the following windows to pick-up and purchase plants:

Saturday, 4/3010am-12pm
We have the following starts with various varieties: tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, onions, leeks, strawberries, squash, melons, specialty greens, lettuce, chard and kale.
If I have not met you, I look forward to connecting! I am the new Education & Engagement Coordinator withPetaluma Bounty. Myself and/or the new Farm Manager, Taylor Diepenbrock, will be at the farm at those times to assist you.

Katie Haberman
Education & Engagement Coordinator
Work Cell Phone: 707-364-4866
PPSC Office: 1500 Petaluma Blvd. South, Petaluma, CA 94952
Bounty Farm: 55 Shasta Avenue, Petaluma, CA, 94952

$1,000 K-8 Grants Available

Ag in the Classroom K-8 Grants

If you are a certified K-8 teacher in the United States interested in bringing organic agriculture into your classroom, please apply for one of our $1,000 Look at Agriculture…Organically! grants for organic education, administered in collaboration with the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Grants last year paid for projects such as making compost with kindergarteners made from zoo poop, and crafting organic jam to donate to a homeless shelter. Find the application details on the California Ag in the Classroom website. The application deadline is May 15, 2016.


Created with lessons from the K-5 Life Lab Science Curriculum and The Growing Classroom our Science Exploration Units are garden themed and aligned to the California State Science Standards.

These units have 6 lessons each and are available as a PDF download or purchased as a set of four from our store

Download the following units:

Watch this video of the First Lady making a surprise visit to some school gardens!

This video is great-

Funding for Farm to School

State Administrative Expense (SAE) Funds Can Support Farm to School!

It is the time of year when state agencies can request additional SAE funds to support the administration of Child Nutrition Programs. What does that mean for farm to school programs? State agencies can use SAE funds to support state-level farm to school and/or school garden coordination and activities! This includes funding farm to school coordinators, promotional and guidance materials, trainings and conferences, and more. Requests are due March 28.

Be sure to check out this memo to learn more about the full scope of opportunities when it comes to using SAE funds for farm to school activities.

Invitation to Blossoms, Bees, & Barnyard Babies 2016

Invitation to Blossoms, Bees, & Barnyard Babies 2016


This April 30th and May 1st we are again producing our popular historic Spring Tour. We invite you to open your gates and barnyard doors to offer a behind-the-scenes peek at Sonoma County’s finest food and agriculture. Known these days as “agritourism,” this is a great opportunity to connect directly with the public, promote and grow your business, attract new customers, and increase on-site sales. We’ll publicize the event and guide folks to your farms & businesses throughout the county- from Petaluma to Cloverdale and from Sonoma to Valley Ford. See details below and return your application by March 1st to or to our office. We hope you’ll join us! The more members who participate, the more robust and compelling the trails will be…


  • We ask that you provide unique offering(s) not typically available during your regular business hours- a tour, tasting, special product, demonstration, class, hike, performance, exhibit, game, sale, farm band, u-pick, animal interaction, etc.
  • You may wish to collaborate with other Farm Trails members, by either hosting them at your site if you have an appropriate facility or by setting up at someone else’s. For instance, a mobile food truck might be a great addition for the picnic area next to your flower farm. Or perhaps a winery would like to pair with one of our amazing cheese makers. Let us know, and we can help facilitate these partnerships.
  • You must be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30th and/or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 1st. You may opt to participate one day or both.
  • The Spring Tour will be free to the public, but we will ask that folks RSVP via Brown Paper Tickets in order to receive the map and tour details. This way, we can have some general sense of attendance.


  • You may charge for certain activities, but you must let us know details in advance so we can properly inform the public.


  • Participating Farm Trails members must provide a certificate of insurance naming Sonoma County Farm Trails as “additional insured” for the day(s) you are participating in the event.


  • As part of the Small Scale Agricultural Ordinance, the Board of Supervisors recently endorsed official Sonoma County Farm Trails events, so you will not need to obtain any special event permits to participate.
  • Spring Tour applications will be due on Tuesday, March 1st this year, and all applicants will be notified of acceptance by March 7th.
  • Farm Trails will promote the tour far and wide in an effort to bring the public to your farms/businesses. Of course, we can’t guarantee a specific turnout, but we will keep you posted on the RSVP rate and public response.   Application here: B4 2016 App-2

Inspire Student Investigations

Inspire Student Investigations

Dear Educator,

Prepare for the new year with fresh resources that help you and your students explore the world of inquiry. With our newly redesigned Investigating

Evidence, you will have everything you need to bring the scientific process to life in your classroom. We are excited to see wonderful investigations students around the country will undertake.

Now aligned both to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, this free download will help you guide your students through exciting scientific investigations. By making observations, crafting and testing hypotheses, collecting and graphing data, students will draw meaningful conclusions and share their work through citizen science and student publications.

Join the Conversation

Interested in using inquiry in the classroom, but looking for tips to get you started? Join us on December 10th at 1:00pm or 8:00pm EDT for our free one hour webinar, “Inquiry: From Observations to Questions.” Building off our Investigating Evidence curriculum and classroom case studies, you’ll discover how to guide students through turning their nature observations into testable questions.

Student Publication

Our annual publication, BirdSleuth Investigator, is written and illustrated by and for K-12 students. Learn from other students about their scientific investigations. Submit your students’ work and help inspire future inquiry projects.

Pumpkin Fun at Riebli Elementary School Garden!

Pumpkin2-RiebliThe Riebli Elementary School garden classes have been busy growing a giant pumpkin! The garden teachers were given a Dill’s Atlantic giant pumpkin start which they planned to enter in a pumpkin growing contest, but the students informally voted not to submit the pumpkin as they wanted to watch it grow.

They used the pumpkin for math lessons: estimating the weight using different methods (circumference verse over the top), measuring the actual weight, measuring circumference, diameter & radius, measuring the perimeter and calculating the area of the leaves, predicting the number of seeds and then grouping and counting the actual seeds.

The Student Council created a computerized voting system to vote on the pumpkin’s name and the lower grades learned about the life cycle after reading “Pumpkins” by Ken Robbins (the plant started to regenerate after they removed the pumpkin).

The giant pumpkin was a huge success and the students really enjoyed it. They are saving the seeds in hopes that students can take home starts of their own in the spring!


Building with Willow in the School Garden

Sherry Gibson, of Wild Woodswoman Creations in Sebastopol, has been designing and creating garden art in North Bay area schools for the last four years using both living willow and nonliving willow for a fun rustic look.
She is currently taking appointments to come and discuss possibilities for installations of living willow structures: faery huts, tipis, shade structures, living chairs and benches, and fences to name a few.
Non living willow projects are also available for trellises, gates, fences, tunnels, bird blinds for wildlife observation, and any other garden infrastructure that can be imagined.
 Any option can be created alone by Sherry Gibson, with the participation of students as a garden project, or open to parents and the public as a fundraiser, with dates being selected from mid-November 2015 through  mid-February 2016.
Schools receive a deep discount on all projects, and price includes free site consultation, construction, materials, and a one year seasonal maintenance plan. Payment plans are an option as needed by any school.
Contact Sherry for further information and/or to make an appointment for a free school visit.


Lexicon of Sustainability Winner-“Soil is Important” contest



Hosted by Natural Resources Defense Council and Lexicon of SUSTAINABILITY

2015 is the International Year of Soils, so in celebration of one of our most important natural resources, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Lexicon of SUSTAINABILITY created the “Voices of Soil” Essay and Video Contest for young farmers, agricultural students, or any young person who appreciates the value of healthy SOIL.

The contest was created to increase understanding and awareness of the vital importance of soil health, and to celebrate the International Year of Soils. Winners were chosen by a special guest panel of distinguished soil leaders, including: Joel Salatin, foremost a farmer, but also a renowned speaker and the author of eight books; Dr. Elaine Ingham, one of the principal leaders in soil microbiology; and Ian Davidson, a soil and fertility expert with extensive training in holisticRESOURCE MANAGEMENT.

Many people understand the connection between soil and food, but fewer people realize soil also has an important role in sequestering carbon and alleviating some of the worst impacts ofCLIMATE CHANGE, like drought and flood. Sustainable agricultural practices like cover cropping can improve soil health by building ORGANIC matter, which allows soil to hold more water. Healthy soil also filters toxic chemicals before they can leach into groundwater or runoff into surface water.  As more people become aware of the importance of soil for providing basic human needs, communities can work together to protect and build healthy soil for farms, cities, and ecosystems.

And the winners are…!

  • Overall Winner for Best Essay: Arianna Stokes, New London, N.H.
    “Soil is alive…if a community is a group of living creatures inhabiting the same place at the same time, the soil, being a living entity, is a member of this community.”
  • Overall Winner for Best Video: Liam Trumble, Chicago.
    “Global warming is partially attributed to our use and misuse of the land and soil.”
  • Winner, Best Essay about Soil and Communities: Ben Gross, Brighton, Mass.
    “I dig out dark, healthy soil and plant basil seeds, covering them with fistfuls of dirt, which leave my hands brown and smelling like earth. My knees are sore but I’m happy; my hands are dirty and will soon be calloused, but I am happy.”
  • Winner, Best Video on Soil and Communities: Weenta Girmay, New Orleans.
    “Water and soil sustain us.  Maintaining the relationship between the two is the best way to preserve our way of life in our historic city.”
  • Winner, Best Essay on Soil and Water: Maria Doerr, Columbia, Mo.
    “Good water and soil quality systems are as, if not more, important than city walkability, access to affordable housing, and the presence of a thriving economic district.  A city is an interconnected system in which manmade and natural components cannot be separated.”
  • Winner, Best Video on Soil and Water: Billy Beaton, Grand Forks, N.D.
    “The relationship between soil and water goes back billions of years.”
  • Winner, Best Essay on Soil and Climate Change: Joanna Brown, Dorchester, Mass.
    “By cooperating with fellow earthlings, we could orchestrate mass CARBON SEQUESTRATION and avoid a dire alternative.  Wetlands, grasslands, and cities could all work to convert volatile atmospheric carbon dioxide to fertile soil wealth.”
  • Winner, Best Video on Soil and Climate Change: Alyssa Bruns, Jackson, N.J.
    “To mitigate global climate change and maintain a healthy planet, we need to return carbon where it belongs – in our soils.”


The Voices of the Soil competition awarded two $1,000 prizes for the best overall video and essay, and six $500 prizes for the best video and essay in each category.