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MSU will use this grant from the Thomas Ranger Memorial Fund to provide financial aid for students from high needs schools in the metro Detroit area so that they can attend programs at the farm.
MSE Extension will use this grant to support core program staff at Tollgate Farm and Education Center: the Public Programs Coordinator and the Education Manager. These staff members develop and oversee field trips, day camps, culturally responsive place-based education, farm-to-school education, stewardship training, a sustainability leadership institute, and numerous other programs at Tollgate. In addition to supporting program staff, the grant will provide salary support for staff that fulfill important positions related to the farm's physical operations (livestock care, hay production, maintenance, etc.).
The rose garden at MSU Tollgate Farm was developed by volunteers and was cared for by volunteers and Tollgate staff for almost 30 years. The garden in its glory, provided a beautiful and educational opportunity for visitors. This once grand display of over 200 rose varieties has been in gradual decline since 2016, as Rose Rosette Disease impacted the plantings. This grant will fund the renovation of the garden and its return to its former status as one of the signature gardens at MSU Tollgate Farm.
MSU will use this grant from the Thomas Ranger Memorial Fund to provide transportation for students from high needs schools in the metro Detroit area so that they can attend programs at the farm.
Michigan State University Extension will use this grant to support two core program staff members at Tollgate Farm and Education Center: the Day Camp Coordinator and an Education Manager. These staff members develop and oversee 4-H camps, day camps, culturally responsive place-based education, farm-to-school field trips, stewardship training, a sustainability leadership institute, and numerous other programs at Tollgate. In addition to supporting program staff, the grant will support physical site operations (livestock care, hay production, etc.). Finally, the grant will enable Tollgate to recruit a sustainable agriculture intern to provide additional capacity to the community-supported agriculture team so that it can work with community partners that serve low income and food insecure families.
MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center provides hands-on experiences for youth and adults in a production agriculture setting. We connect people to the source of their food and the natural world. Unfortunately, individuals with limited mobility, because of a wheelchair, or walker, have difficulty participating. Often, schools do not bring students in wheelchairs on field trips because they know it will be difficult to navigate the farm. The farm is committed to finding creative ways to serve all individuals regardless of their physical abilities and seeks to purchase a custom trailer with a wheelchair ramp that can be pulled behind a pick-up truck. The trailer would be easy to use, require little maintenance, and enable program staff to navigate the main pathways around the site for many years to come. This grant proposal is a part of a wider initiative to improve accessibility at the farm.
To provide salary support for essential staff needed for adaptable programming, including creative camp activities and virtual educational programs for various audiences, and to ensure that agricultural programming continues in a well-maintained farm setting.
To provide salary support for essential staff needed to develop and deliver quality programming at the farm, including programs that are adapted to the circumstances created by COVID-19, and to undertake site activities and maintenance.
To provide salary support for a full-time Summer Camp Coordinator that will lead eight weeks of summer camp, school field trips, assist with major educational events, improve program evaluation, and build connections with other MSU Departments; to provide salary support for a full-time assistant to support the Farm Manager; improve accessibility to the Tollgate Farm Activity Center for persons with limited mobility; and to purchase a new commercial lawn mower.