SG561: Bringing Farms to Schools in Oregon with Rick Sherman

Rick Sherman was hired by the Oregon Department of Education in 2012 as the Farm to School/School Garden coordinator after working for 32 years for a food service management company. The last 20 of those years have been spent as a Director of Nutrition Services in Eugene, Albany and Dallas (Oregon).

Rick is a Master Gardener, loves home brewing, & riding dirt bikes. He spends his spare time in his backyard garden and raising chickens. Join Rick as he shares his journey in being a part of a team that has continued to put Oregon on the national map for Farm to School, by starting from meager beginnings to a State that has a multi-million dollar State support and attracting hundreds to their annual Summit.

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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.

Bringing Farms to Schools in Oregon with Rick Sherman

Interview Questions

Why don’t we start by having you tell the audience just a little bit about yourself.

Time Stamp: 37:45

I read in your bio that you raise chickens?

Time Stamp 40:20

Let’s talk a little bit about the presentation I saw. The organizers introduced your keynote with a question and that question was, “Do you feel your school garden is an island among itself?” This is a common sentiments for school gardens.

Time Stamp 42:30

I suppose if somebody were to attempt this, you would suggest not only figure out does the school have a garden, but also get the contact information so you can reach out to them.

Time Stamp 45:35

Let’s talk a little bit about the profile of these folks. You’re starting to network with these schools. What did you find out about the population of people who are incharge of schoolyard gardens?

Time Stamp 46:40

When you think about the next tagline for your presentation it said, “Rick will show you how to unite your school garden movement in your neighborhood, city, and state in 7 steps.” Can you give us a quick overview of those 7 steps? 

Time Stamp 49:55

Do you find a lot of people struggle with structuring a big vision, when it comes to the garden, and asking for it from the school? If yes, how do you help people with that?

Time Stamp 56:35

I’m curious curios about the role social media can play in terms of getting the word out. Has social media played an important role in Oregon?

Time Stamp 59:00

Let’s talk a little bit more about what’s in your commercials for the schoolyard garden.

Time Stamp 1:01:00

I’m sure a number of people would be interested in assisting in a schoolyard garden, but maybe they don’t feel qualified to get involved. How can they be apart of this?

Time Stamp 1:02:45

Do the most successful gardens involve teams of people? What happens to the garden when you’re gone?

Time Stamp 1:04:30

How do you handle people who are little too proprietary about their garden?

Time Stamp 1:06:35

In terms of process, do you recommend integrating schoolyard garden programs into already pre-existing meetings like in a parent/teacher meeting or a school board meeting?

Time Stamp 1:08:35

How do you overcome resistance?

Time Stamp 1:09:45

How do most schools handle water?

Time Stamp 1:11:55

Have you ever seen a school initiate a request for a garden?

Time Stamp 1:13:05

How about hoop houses in the school?

Time Stamp 1:16:40

I was going to ask you about grants. In your presentation, you had page after page of awarded grants for gardens around your state. How do people even begin this process?

Time Stamp 1:19:10

Do you ever have gardens that start with container garden or straw bale gardening?

Time Stamp 1:21:50

Do you ever have folks who do some type of go-fund me to raise money?

Time Stamp 1:23:10

Let’s talk a little bit about resources people can get for free on your website. What resources do you recommend?

Time Stamp 1:24:50

The headshot picture of you for the Schoolyard Gardens conference here in Minnesota shows a chicken on your shoulder. Tell me more about this!

Time Stamp 1:28:35

What parting piece of wisdom do you have for the listeners who’d like to start a project like this?

Time Stamp 1:29:45

Bringing Farms to Schools in Oregon with Rick Sherman


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What listeners are saying...

I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.

- Barbcfc, Mar 23, 2016

Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.

- cwaigl, May 29, 2014

Best gardening podcast out there. Her preparedness leads to a good interaction with the guests and brings out the best in them. Very informative and yet personable.

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This is a great podcast. Really well produced and organized with good sound quality. I love the mix of information and personal touches. Jennifer has great guests and asks the best questions. You can tell she really does her homework. I listen to several gardening podcasts and this is my absolute favorite!

- So Cal Gardengirl, June 19,2016

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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  1. Harsha Sharma on November 3, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Hi! I love how informative and great your articles are. Can you recommend any other blogs that share blogs that share information on Vegan Salmon or vegan recipes in general? Thanks a lot!

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