Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

School News

We have partnerships with more than 40 schools along the South Shore. Is your school one of them? 

This week with Holly Hill School Partners

1/09/2017: Even though we are in the throes of winter with snow and ice, there is still work to do with teaching about organic farming and gardening. Recently, the Farm Teachers were at the South Shore Educational Collaborative School Quest program with 6th and 7th graders making a worm bin. We added food scraps, newspaper, some water and red wriggler worms, of course, in hopes the students will investigate their progress as the worms start decomposing the ingredients, reduce trash and make some lovely vermicompost for more growing.  Soon, we will take on the same plan at the Cole School in Norwell, as each 2nd grade classroom will have a chance to make a bin.  Worms work in winter too.


11/28/2016: Though the weather outside may seem frightful to some, the Farm Teachers at Holly Hill Farm continue to extend their work with students into the warm late November months. Recently, they have spread seaweed and mulch at the Plymouth River School in Hingham with first graders as part of their efforts to complete chores and put the garden to bed. The lesson connects with a children’s story about Sarah Morton, a pilgrim girl in the 1600s, which the class reads. Soon, the Farm Teachers will plant garlic at St. Paul School in Hingham and continue building beds at Cohasset Recreation’s new community garden, where garlic will be heeled in for winter and a summer harvest next year. As long as the weather remains delightful, we will keep planting and growing.


11/21/2016: The Farm Teachers at Holly Hill have been enjoying the mild November weather and planting garlic at schools in Hull, Scituate, Cohasset, Marshfield, Norwell, Quincy, Weymouth and Hingham. The roots have time to grow before the winter settles in with more cold, frost and snow. The students at each garden pop the garlic bulbs so there is a seed for each student. They then tuck in the garlic and provide mulch with shredded leaves and seaweed. And now that the colder weather has arrived, the Farm Teachers will move inside at the Old Colony Montessori and other schools to save seeds, dry herbs and give thanks for the harvest and the growing season.


11/14/2016: The Farm Teachers have been saving seeds such as corn, bean and sunflower from school gardens in Norwell, Scituate and Hingham so that we can have seeds to sow in spring. We have also been gathering lots of washed-ashore seaweed for garlic planting. Garlic will be plunged into the ground for a long winter’s nap followed by early spring growth at all the elementary schools in Hingham and Scituate. Much like daffodils and tulips, though more healthy and better for bread, the garlic is a bulb that will root up these lovely autumn days.


11/7/2016: The Farm Teachers attended two farm education workshops, one in Leominster and one in Concord. We learned from other educators, for example, the importance of saving seeds from one year to the next. One workshop explored the sustainability of providing New England grown farm produce to our region (the N.E. Food & Farming Vision). The Educators of Holly Hill Farm presented several workshops. Janice McPhillips helped share the results of our partnership and collaboration with the Quincy Public Schools to host field trips, train teachers and help start organic farm gardens at the Quincy schools. Jon Belber led a program with three teenagers about the Farm to Food Pantry community service program. Soon we will plant garlic at the Academy Avenue School in Weymouth, more schools in Quincy and the South River School in Marshfield.


10/31/2016: The Farm Teachers have been out collecting seed at the Cushing and Hatherly Schools in Scituate. Due to the drought, the harvest is a bit small, but instead of making corn bread and popping corn, the students are learning the value of saving the glass gem corn seed and pole beans for next spring. Soon the teachers will head to four Quincy schools to plant garlic for the first time at three elementary schools: Lincoln-Hancock, Clifford Marshall and Squantum and at the Atlantic Middle School. Garlic bread next fall sounds like a plan.


10/24/2016: The Farm Teachers have been harvesting herbs and collecting potatoes for the 4 elementary schools in Scituate and the Gates Intermediate Middle School in Scituate. October 24 is International Food Day and will featured produce from the 5 school farm gardens. The chefs and cooks in the cafeterias incorporate the vegetables that the kids and students help cultivate, grow and harvest into their lunch menus. How great to be a part of fresh food in the schools. Soon, we will feature garlic bread in over 20 South Shore schools as it is almost time for garlic planting.


10/17/2016: The farm teachers at Holly Hill Farm have been seen sowing rocket arugula with the after school Voyager students at Plymouth River School in Hingham. They are hoping to be able to sample some arugula salad before the program ends in late October. Soon the teachers will be harvesting corn, beans and squash from East School in Hingham and Cushing School in Scituate. Those beds will then make room for planting garlic in late October and early November.


10/11/2016: The teachers at Holly Hill Farm added compost and prepared beds at the Gates Intermediate School in Scituate. In the garden behind the Red School House, the 8th graders in Mrs. Read’s classes sowed beet, kale, carrot and lettuce seeds. The students will come back to the garden in November in hopes of reaping what they have sown! Soon the Farm Teachers will harvest corn, beans and potatoes with the 3rd graders at the Hatherly School in Scituate. This activity will be a good preview for their annual trip to the Plimouth Plantation.


10/3/2016:  The Holly Hill Farm teachers have been enjoying the harvest with students at local South Shore schools, such as potatoes at the Cushing and Wampatuck schools in Scituate, tomatillos at the Old Colony Montessori School in Hingham and beans at the Jacobs School in Hull. We are looking forward to sowing fast growing radish seeds at the Hatherly School in Scituate and at St.Paul School in Hingham. With rain and sun, these seeds ought to grow. 


9/26/2106:  The Holly Hill Farm teachers have been welcoming fall by harvesting potatoes at the Cushing School in Scituate. After harvesting, with plenty of autumn sunshine still ahead, the 3rd graders then sowed lettuce and spinach seeds. Soon the farm teachers will visit the Wompatuck School, also in Scituate, to harvest and plant with 1st graders. Plenty of time to tend and grow.


9/19/2016: The farm teachers at Holly Hill Farm have been making fall plans to plant spinach and greens at the Cole School in Norwell. This is contingent on their desire to implement and place rain barrels at key locations to collect rain, when it falls, as well use some of their compost made from the cafeteria vegetable scraps. Compost is great for retaining water. Soon we will be at the Wampatuck School farm garden in Scituate to spread compost and transplant broccoli plants for a late autumn harvest.


9/12/2016: The prevailing themes of late summer farming and teaching are dry weather and no rain. But the Farm Educators at Holly Hill Farm continue to teach and plant wisely at local area schools. We are welcoming the South Shore Charter Public School in Norwell 1st and 2nd graders to the Farm for weekly work in their garden. The children are learning about the Farm and sowing some seeds which are being watered with watering cans from the rain barrel at the Farm and any rain that might hopefully fall from the sky.

Speaking of rain barrels, we are working again with a grant from the Aquarion Water Company in Hingham to secure rain barrels at the four elementary schools in Hingham and the Jacobs School in Hull so we can soon plant spinach. All on account of some liquid sunshine coming our way.


6/13/2016: The Farm Teachers at Holly Hill have been busy heeling in summer crops such as the Three Sisters: corn, climbing green beans and winter squash at the East and South Schools in Hingham. Also, grade 2 at the Jacobs School in Hull planted tomatoes and onions. Before school lets out, the students at the Martinson School in Marshfield will plant potatoes and carrots.  Much to sow and hopefully much to harvest come Autumn.


5/23/2016: The Holly Hill Farm teachers have been as busy hosting at the Farm as they have been teaching at school farm gardens and communities. Carrot, bean, squash, potato and pumpkin seeds are just some of the plants and produce now growing at the Flaherty school in Braintree, thanks to students in grades K-5. Also there were two tomato seedling workshops for neighbors and senior citizens in Weymouth and Quincy at two workshops sponsored by the Keohane Funeral Home and hosted by the Interfaith Social Services and the Weymouth Food Pantry. Soon, as the soil warms, the teachers will plant potatoes at schools in Hingham, Scituate, Marshfield and Norwell.


5/16/2016: The Holly Hill Farm teachers have been busy heeling in potatoes both at the farm with visiting 2nd graders from Quincy public schools as well as at the Hatherly school farm garden. The teachers also sowed quick-to-grow arugula seed at the East and Foster schools in Hingham.  Soon, the teachers will plant some carrots and salad greens at the Flaherty school in Braintree. It is the growing season indeed.


5/9/2106: The Holly Hill Farm teachers began hosting every 2nd grader from the Quincy public schools (630 students) for hands-on, experiential field trips at the Farm: seeing the animals, the seedlings in the greenhouse, the growing fields, the woods, the compost area and the Education Garden. At the same time, we helped construct 8 new growing garden beds at two elementary schools, the Lincoln-Hancock and the Clifford Marshall. Now students at these schools can start growing their own organic vegetables. Soon the teachers will bring compost to 2nd grade classrooms in Hingham, so students can add it to their garden beds and plant spring salad greens.


5/2/2016: The Farm teachers sowed seeds with 160 6th graders in Kingston. At their four new farm garden beds, the students seemed excited to think about lettuce, beet greens and kale to enjoy before school lets out in June. Even the third graders came out to place in some fast growing radish seeds. Soon the Farm teachers will welcome 2nd graders from Quincy to the Farm for some hands-on exploration of what is growing in the fields and gardens. The Farm teachers will also fan out to Hingham schools to spread compost from their classroom worm bins and place some spring greens of their own into their school gardens.


4/26/2016: The Holly Hill Farm teachers have been busy at Derby Academy teaching and sowing seeds with grades 1, 2 & 3. They transplanted kale and sugar snap peas for a hopeful, early June harvest. Soon, the teachers will help the 6th graders at the Wampatuck School in Scituate as they turn the compost pile, weed the beds, harvest scallions for the Food Pantry and check the asparagus bed for early spears of fresh asparagus.


4/19/2016: The Farm Teachers have been transplanting sugar snap pea seedlings at the Cole School in Norwell, the Hatherly School in Scituate and the Osgood School in Cohasset. They also got a head start with third graders at the Jenkins School in Scituate sowing tomato seeds for their school plant sale in June. The seeds will continue to germinate at the Farm greenhouse while the students and teachers are on vacation. Soon, there will be many opportunities to build garden beds at schools in Quincy, Norwell and at the new East School garden in Hingham.  It is a good time to be a busy student seed sower.


4/11/2016: The Holly Hill Farm teachers having been battling the elements, just like the rest of us, as we have been able to study vermicompost at indoor settings at the Old Colony Montessori school in Hingham and South Shore Charter Public School in Norwell. The students have found great pockets of worms enjoying the spoils of banana peels, apple cores and slowly deteriorating newspaper and coffee filters. The result is some great, nutritious compost for the garden, when the weather turns more spring-like and warm.  Soon we will distribute the compost as well as transplant sugar snap pea seedlings at the Hingham Middle school in their new garden beds, built last August by the science teachers. Here’s to good growth.


4/4/2016: the Farm teachers have been urging spring along, constructing four new farm garden beds at the Kingston Intermediate School. Several enthusiastic 6th graders helped after their school day to drill together the rough cut pine and fill the beds with soil. We hope to plant sugar snap peas soon, as we wait for this blast of snow to pass. And with the snow, the teachers are busy scheduling and re-scheduling pea seedling transplants in Cohasset, Hingham, Norwell and Marshfield. As to the pea seeds already in the ground, here’s hoping for warm days and nights and adsorbing increased daylight.


3/28/2016: The farm teachers at Holly Hill Farm were at the Plymouth River school in Hingham sowing peas with 4th graders and gently tucking them in for spring growth.  They placed transparent fabric over the beds for some extra warmth and protection. The teachers sowed peas with 3rd graders in Scituate so they too can observe, measure, provide support and help the peas to grow, climb and make edible pods and peas. There are plans, in fact, in the coming weeks for pea plants to grow at existing raised beds at schools in Marshfield, Norwell, Hull, Cohasset and at the Farm too. All these kids will place the seeds in the healthy soil, water and let the sun shine, while giving peas a chance.


3/21/2016: The Holly Hill Farm teachers have been sowing trays of sugar snap pea seeds for school farm gardens. The trays of seeds are slowly emerging, and despite the wet snow, are growing in the safe confines of the Holly Hill greenhouse. At least 20 trays for twenty different school gardens. Soon, we will build raised garden beds in Kingston and Quincy so schools in that town and city can grow vegetables and eat them too.


3/14/2016: The farm teachers at Holly Hill Farm were able to get back to the garden with the 1st and 2nd graders at the Old Colony Montessori School in Hingham. We transplanted our beet and kale greens into a newly turned garden bed. Next we will sow sugar snap peas, and enhance the compost pile. Soon, we will sow peas at the four elementary schools in Hingham and four in Scituate, as well as at the Gates Intermediate and Middle Schools in Scituate and Hingham. Let Spring continue to wend its way into New England.


3/7/2016: The farm teachers at Holly Hill helped launch a new cafeteria compost collection at the Cole School in Norwell. The cafeteria chefs and staff are collecting the refuse from their kitchen preparations, and the kindergartners and grade 5 are helping to haul it out to their new garden compost bins. Soon finished compost will be ready to sustain the garden.

This week, the teachers welcome back the 1st and 2nd graders from the South Shore Charter Public school for their weekly visits to the Farm and to cultivate their garden. Spring is upon us as the teachers at the Farm will also site some new, exciting garden locations at four public schools in Quincy. Now is the time to plant, grow and prepare the good earth for some edible, educational produce.


2/29/2016: The Holly Hill Farm teachers were at the Cole School in Norwell planning for cafeteria compost collection. The cafeteria staff has already been saving their vegetable and fruit scraps and now will work with 5th graders and the kindergartners to help place those scraps into an outdoor compost bin. The bin will also hold straw, as a good carbon component to go with the green nitrogen. Soon, there will be finished compost for the school farm garden.

Soon, the HHF teachers will make plans for new growth at schools in Kingston and Braintree, details, and spring, soon to come.


2/22/2016: Last week, Jon Belber and Janice McPhillips were invited to participate in first ever Massachusetts Horticultural Society School Garden Summit, a gathering of 25 school garden leaders throughout the state. The goal of the summit was to share of successes and opportunities in school garden education. Mass Hort hopes to create a mechanism to share resources and best practices to improve and expand the network of school gardens throughout the state. The Summit was followed by a day long School Garden Conference attended by about 150 teachers and school garden enthusiasts including parents, garden club members, and other community members. Jon and Janice presented a workshop about STEM curriculum in school gardens. Farm Educators Lauri Jacobucci and Sonya Claridge also attended the Conference which was held at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley.


2/9/2016: Currently the Farm Educators are spending some indoor winter time writing an exciting new curriculum about school farm gardens. In our work with more than 30 schools, there are some wonderful informative lessons to write. The lessons focus on making compost, planting garlic, designing garden beds, sowing sugar snap pea seeds as well as collecting and drying herbs, to name a few. In the end, the curriculum guide will feature 15 lessons with many meaningful connections to science, literature, math, social studies, art, engineering and writing. Until the snow melts and the temperatures warm, the Farm Teachers have plenty to write, publish and share.


2/1/2016: Recently the Holly Hill Farm teachers have been continuing their vermicompost lesson having now taught every second grader in Hingham about the merits of reducing waste, putting good fruit and vegetable scraps to use and helping the worms to make some great compost for spring planting in the school gardens.

The teachers also put a few lettuce and beet seeds in a tray at the South Shore Educational Collaborative with children from the Quest program. After one week, there is already some terrific growth and with this weather of late, the promise of spring seems true.

Our teachers are now preparing to facilitate a discussion of organic school farm gardens at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s two day seminar on growing school gardens in February over the vacation break in Wellesley.


1/26/2016: Recently, the Holly Hill Farm educators collected vegetable food scraps at snacktime from second graders at East School in Hingham as part of our town wide effort to teach about vermicompost.  The second graders set up the worm bin with red wriggler worms, the food scraps, shredded newspaper and water. In eight weeks time, there should be some nutrient rich compost to add to the garden.


1/19/2016: Recently, on a not too brisk winter afternoon, the grade 1 Girl Scout Daisies at the Cushing School in Scituate gathered to earn their green badge, learn about the environment and eat oranges, apples and bananas for snack. They then collected the cores and peels to put into the new school compost bin out back by the garden. For a few months the 6th graders have been collecting similar fruit and vegetable scraps from lunch in order to and in hopes of making compost for the new school garden. Mixed with carbon based straw, the nitrogen rich food mixes well together, along with worms, to make some compost for Spring.  The Daisies were happy to contribute and help reduce some trash as well. It was a nice way to help the garden in winter and offer help for the earth, while one waits for warmer weather.


1/11/16: As the farm teachers busy themselves with scheduling field trips and planning for spring seeds, there are still programs to teach at schools. Recently, we taught about indoor vermicompost at The South Shore Educational Collaborative. We started an indoor bin for food scraps and added red wriggler worms to do the work of making compost.

Soon, we will look at seed catalogues at The Old Colony Montessori School elementary classroom.  It will be exciting to plan what to grow.