Mini-Grant Application for School Year 2016-2017

Submitted by: jennifer bennett Email: Grade Level: 6-8 Subject: science, math, history, readin
Co-Applicant:Kory Bennett Email: kory.bennett@sdhc.k12.fl.usGrade level: 6-8 Subject: science

School: Memorial Middle School Type: Public Grade Levels:6-8 County:hillsborough

Approx. Enrollment: 680 Number of teachers:52 % of Free and Reduced Lunch:98

School Address:

4702 N Central Ave Tampa Fl 33603

Phone: 8138725230 Principal:Henry Lefler Email:

Project Title: Renegade Roots Urban Farm and Garden
Project Dates: Present-9/30/2020 Grade Levels:

Focus Area(s) :Urban Agriculture- Scientific Literacy- Local/Global citizenship - social/environmental/community outreach

Our school, Memorial Middle School, is a title I, renaissance school (over 90% of students are of low SES) in Tampa, Florida. We are developing an urban agriculture program (Renegade Roots Urban Farm and Gardens) that will help our students cultivate practical and creative skill-sets requiring the practice of responsible scientific thinking. More important, this program will empower all of our students to improve their day-to-day lives, while giving them the voice necessary to author their own future! Our program will encourage our students to be compassionate, forward-thinking, honest, collaborative, ethical, environmentally conscious, productive local and global citizens. We currently have an ever developing urban terrace garden that, under the guidance of their teachers, was built and is maintained by our students. We teachers have observed the joy, pride and sense of ownership that many of our students experience while working in the garden, and we see the potential to expand the invaluable learning and therapeutic experiences that occur while we are all working together toward a common goal. We believe continuing to expand our program to a campus-wide working urban farm, will bring our school family closer together and strengthen connections with our surrounding communities. We are planning to provide practical experiences for our students that include, limited space food production, horticulture basics, household/farm repairs, sustainable water/irrigation systems, alternative energy sources, landscaping design and engineering, animal husbandry/care, habitat design and construction, composting, upcycling and environmental conservation; while also enriching their everyday academics and encouraging core human values! This project is based on the idea of helping our students transform their lives, the lives of their families, and the lives of their community members, in a positive, healthy, and productive manner, by offering empowering, relevant, unforgettable learning experiences that will inspire students to become conscientious, active members of our society.

1. One of the cornerstones of our program is innovation through the promotion of spaces that prompt students and educators to think creatively, practically, and analytically in order to solve real world everyday problems. This requires participants to develop original ideas, methods and ways of interacting in order to cultivate skill-sets that prepare them for life. Students and teachers will have the opportunity to practice scientific habits of mind such as being observant, curious, skeptical, and creative, while also building an understanding of themselves and others through the acquisition of intersubjectivity. Our urban farm will promote the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) construct while fostering interdisciplinary approaches to education and the development of significant learning experiences. In addition, this project promotes twenty-first century progressive pedagogical practices and philosophies, that will foster each student’s abilities to be well-informed, ethical, productive, and innovative citizens of our global environment. Ultimately, students will recognize that human innovation across space and time connects them with their global community, while obligating them to be responsible for their fellow human beings. 2. Our farm and garden is dynamic and provides the context for the connection of several next generation standards from all courses at our school. More important perhaps, is this new context illustrates how the boundaries and borders that exist between school subjects do not exist outside of an academic environment. However, as science educators, we have already developed and implemented learning experiences that link our “big Ideas” and subsequent next generation science standards, to our activities on the farm. The farm and garden will act as a living laboratory that allows students to explore the nature of scientific thinking, acting, and decision-making, in order to create a cohesive working system. Not only will the nature of science (Big Ideas 1, 2, 3 and 4) be made visible to our students, but almost all of our standards (grades 6-8) can be linked to our program as it is designed. In addition, our program requires students to understand the use and development of technology on many different levels and for multiple purposes. Standards from all the Big Ideas (BI’s 1-18) covered in middle school science include standards that will be contextualized by our farm and garden program. The following are examples of the many standards that will be contextualized by our farm and garden program: Grade 6- SC.6.E.7.2, SC.6.E.7.3, SC.6.E.7.4, SC.6.E.7.9, SC.6.L.14.1, SC6.L.14.4, SC.6.P.11.1, SC.6.L.14.5, SC.6.P.13.1, Grade 7- SC.7.P.10.1, SC.912.P.10.5, SC.7.P.11.2, SC.7.P.11.3, SC.7.E.6.2, SC.7.E.6.4, SC.7.E.6.6, SC.7.L.16.1, SC.912.L.16.2, SC.7.L.15.2, SC.912.L.15.6, SC.912.L.15.13, SC.7.L.17.1, SC.912.L.17.6, Grade 8- SC.8.P.8.1, SC.8.P.8.2, SC.8.P.8.3, SC.8.P.8.4, SC.8.P.8.5, SC.912.P.8.11, SC.8.P.9.1, SC.8.L.18.1, SC.912.L.18.7, SC.8.L.18.2, SC.8.L.18.3, SC.912.L.18.9, SC.8.E.5.4, SC.912.E.5.4, SC.8.E.5.7, SC.8.E.5.11, SC.8.E.5.12. 3. A majority of our students and our surrounding community members are disenfranchised, of low SES, and often “voiceless.” Our farm and garden program will promote academic and scientific pursuits, but it will also help students cultivate a sense of social justice, an awareness of their own ethnocentrism, and their responsibility to advocate for themselves and others. Students will develop practical skills that will help them understand finance, caretaking, the development of community business structures, and methods that will not only help them grow their own food, but also understand how to share with others while helping to improve their communities as a whole. In sum, this program will help “mobilize the resources, knowledge, and capacity” of the individuals that comprise our school and surrounding communities, in order to empower them to negotiate and shape their own sociocultural environments. Finally, this type of experience is far removed from the normal educational contexts of which our students are familiar; because of this, simple acts such as clearing a garden area, building a raised garden box, taking care of our campus animals, or just planting a seed can lead to exponential change in the lives of our students, their families and community members. 4. This program requires the understanding of technological innovations that are both old and new. Students will understand how technology is developed overtime in response to both need and inspiration. On a practical level students will cultivate operational understandings of how to utilize various technology including basic farm and garden equipment, construction/wood-working tools, and other machinery, devices and techniques required to support a working urban farm. In addition, students will be prompted to utilize modern computer technology in order to conduct research, develop digital designs, improve upon farm practices, communicate with other stakeholders, record keeping, promotional/informational video production, and to develop an understanding of the relationship between human activity and technology in the 21st century. Finally, Students will also be encouraged to develop their own approaches and technologies in order to solve problems, improve the lives of their fellow students and families, develop ways to recycle (upcycle) materials in order to solve practical everyday problems. 5. We expect that evidence of academic improvement will be indicated by the assessment tools that are currently in place, however, the scope of the goals indicated here exceeds the vantage of any traditional instrument. Therefore, we will also diligently collect qualitative and quantitative data that will help us adjust our program and approaches to meet the needs of our students. We will practice a form of action research, that will help us collect, analyze and interpret data, that will make evident the successes and failures of our program. Also, in order to better gauge and develop the community outreach component of our urban farm and garden program, we will conduct informal interviews with participants. We will also pool our resources with all the teachers involved to better develop the interdisciplinary nature of this endeavor. This will help us develop a more holistic conception and understanding of the overall program, and how it impacts the lives of all the stakeholders involved. 6. We encourage and expect our students to cultivate a yearning for the advocacy of themselves and those that they represent. Consequently, students will be asked to speak and participate with various community groups, including local government, non-profit groups, other community-outreach programs, and charity organizations. We will become a part of the urban farming community here in our city, and elsewhere, attend farmer’s markets and other similar gatherings; demonstrating to our students the power of collaboration Students will also be given the opportunity to produce and share informational/promotional videos illustrating their efforts on the farm, connections with academic standards, and how what they learn connects with the lives of others. We will reach out to other schools in order to create a support network that will be mutually beneficial and enriching. This program will help our students recognize the importance of considering new ideas, while sharing their own. We suggest that students participating in this program will continue to share what they learn with others for the rest of their lives, in order to improve the lives of their own families and the other human beings with which they share the planet; they will become agents of positive change empowered with the capacity to shape their world!


Service/ Item Description Cost
soil/compost 1000.00
water catch/irrigation systems 600.00
plants/animals 300.00
garden supplies/tools/wood 1000.00
computer device/software/design 500.00
Total Cost of Project $3400.00
If matching funds identified list source:
Donated Goods/Services:
Total Requested From TERRA $3000.000

I, jennifer bennett, certify that the application is complete and final, AND I verify that I have received permission to apply for these funds from Henry Lefler,the Principal of Memorial Middle School and any other individuals required by my school district.