Race begins for school to earn grant

Toms River Intermediate North begins a campaign today to install a 300-square-foot food garden on school grounds, and hopefully earn a $400 grant from the nonprofit group SeedMoney.

The campaign is being led by Karen Huerta, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at IN, with the support of Principal Lynn Fronzak. The project is described as a “crowdgrant,” and the school has a fundraising goal of $600. The first 50 organizations to $600 will receive an additional $400 grant to their totals. Additionally, the group that raises the most money in the 30-day period will receive an additional $600 for a total of $1,000 on top of what is raised by the crowdfunding.

The race begins today, Nov. 15 at noon, and runs through Dec. 15. Those interested in helping IN meet its goal can donate here.

“The great thing is that the money we earn will go toward the project regardless of the grant outcome,” said Huerta. “Of course we want to make this the best garden possible for our students, so a SeedMoney grant would allow us to take this project to the next level.”

The garden project is curriculum based and aligns with the school and district’s adopted philosophy that hands-on activities lead to authentic learning. While students learn the basic principles of botany and horticulture in science class, the school gardening experience will allow them to participate in the entire process. Through the school garden students will be able to assist in the construction of the raised beds in shop class; develop fertile soil and nurture seeds for planting in their science classes; explore new vegetables and recipes in cooking class; and share this with their entire community.

Intermediate North has a specific and school-wide plan to institute the garden, using pallets and hardware to help students construct raised beds that will be installed on school grounds come spring. Dirt composted from fall leaves, seeds, and the necessary tools comprise the other major costs of the project, which will engage students at all grade levels. In addition to its goal of increasing opportunities for students to take charge of their learning through hands-on experiences, the school garden project also seeks to highlight the burgeoning diversity of the school and surrounding area.

“We are a blending of cultures, customs, cuisines and food experiences that should be shared and enhanced as often as possible,” Huerta noted in the school’s application. “Our food garden would give us the opportunity to share those things with others and have a greater appreciation for the multicultural community that we are a part of.”

All donations to Intermediate North’s proposed school garden are tax-deductible and go to the project even if the goal is not reached. 

More info

In this grant cycle, SeedMoney is offering 50 $400 “Challenge Grants” awarded to the first 50 projects that are able to raise $600 via their crowdfunding pages during its 30-day challenge period running from November 15 to December 15. In addition to this, SeedMoney offers 50 “Merit Grants” of $200 each which do not have any crowdfunding requirement. Projects that don’t win Challenge Grants will automatically be considered for Merit Grants. Finally, SeedMoney will also offer a $600 bonus grant (i.e. a total grant of $1,000 when added with the $400 challenge grant) to the project that raises the most funds by the end of the 30-day period. Groups get to keep whatever funds they raise via their crowdfunding page whether or not they reach their funding target.

IN garden
Garden party
Through a crowdsourcing campaign and, ideally, grant from SeedMoney, students at Intermediate North will take an active role in growing fruits and vegetables-- which they'll be able to eat and share with family and neighbors-- throughout the year.

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raised garden

A raised bed such as the one seen here would be designed and constructed by shop class students at Intermediate North, and then installed this spring on school grounds.

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