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November 17 • 04:48 PM
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Songwriting Workshop, Cultivating Connections, Awarded CWC Grant


Farm Catskills and Story Laurie McIntosh Partner on New Farm-to-School Program


06/15/2012 - Farm Catskills, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Delaware County's working landscape and promoting a sustainable food system, today announced that it has been awarded an $8,400 Public Education Grant from the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

The grant enables a new collaboration with local singer, songwriter and storyteller, Story Laurie. Cultivating Connections is an interactive songwriting workshop for elementary classes designed to cultivate student and community connections with the environment, healthy foods and nutrition, and farms in the Watershed. Beginning this fall, four local schools with school gardens, will participate in Cultivating Connections: South Kortright Central School, Delhi Central School, Andes Central School and Downsville Central School.

"The ultimate goal of Cultivating Connections is to create lifelong community and health impacts, not only among the students who participate in the workshops, but among their peers and community members of all ages," said Sonia Janiszewski, Farm Catskills' program manager. "Story Laurie gets children thinking about what's happening out there in the school garden; they set their thoughts to music; and a few weeks later, kids are singing their hearts out about bees, worms, soil, sun and water!"

Elementary classes at each school will participate in a three-to-five week program led by Story Laurie that takes students on a journey from learning about gardens and how they grow to thinking critically about the processes taking place there. Students create an original song to be shared with their peers, families and communities, at a public celebration.

"Putting thoughts about what we learn in school into song makes it more meaningful and everlasting to both the students and the teachers," said Susie Little, Andes Central School's Pre-K/Kindergarten teacher. "Having the opportunity to share in song what they have learned makes the students confident and proud."

Laurie McIntosh has been bringing unique songwriting workshops and storytelling programs to schools, libraries, festivals and historical societies for nearly two decades. Most recently, Laurie merged her love of story, song and homegrown goodness in Groovin' in the Garden, her new CD produced by children's music guru Dean Jones (Dog on Fleas).

"Lately, many communities have realized the health and economic values of local farm-to-school initiative programs," says Laurie. "Experiential, hands-on learning is so important for kids, and allowing them to work creatively together to produce food for themselves and their families—to get their hands in the dirt and literally dig into the subject—is such a powerful idea."

For more information regarding Farm Catskills' and Story Laurie, visit www.FarmCatskills.org and www.StoryLaurie.com.

Farm Catskills is a not-for-profit community organization conceived by Catskill farmers to protect and promote agriculture and the farming way of life in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. Its mission is to protect farmland and provide tangible support to the farmers of today and tomorrow. Farm Catskills partners with residents, schools, businesses and other organizations to conserve and nurture the rural heritage of the region. For more information, visit www.FarmCatskills.org.

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