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2018 Maine wild blueberry harvest kicks off

Students at the Blueberry Harvest School observe their butterfly project.

Agriculture plays a crucial role in Maine’s economy, generating $821 million each year. To support the hundreds of workers who travel to Washington County each August for the Maine wild blueberry harvest, Mano en Mano and the Maine Migrant Education Program are participating in a variety of programs including the Rakers’ Center and the Blueberry Harvest School in Harrington.

On July 29th, we celebrated the opening of the Rakers’ Center, a community resource center for farmworkers hosted at Narraguagus High School, with a welcome dinner as part of our Summer Food Service Program. This project is funded by a grant from Full Plates, Full Potential with the goal to “increase the number of federally reimbursed meals served to food insecure children in their communities during summer vacation.” Mano en Mano will continue to serve meals this season both in worker camps and at the Blueberry Harvest School (BHS).

This summer at the BHS, students are creating projects related to our theme, Imagining New Stories. Each class will explore stories we have heard from family members, stories we know about ourselves, and stories that connect us to new ideas, authors, and cultures. Students will expand their imaginations to discover fantasy creatures and characters that can transform. They will learn about ways that artists use illustration and other craft techniques to tell traditional stories and invent new ones. As the program progresses, students will begin to author new stories based on their own imaginative ideas.

In addition to fun activities in the classroom, students will participate in: traditional crafts and activities with Mi'kmaq educator, Loraine Clair; printmaking with local artist, Jude Valentine; creative writing and art activities with award-winning author, Meg Medina (part of our partnership with Island Readers and Writers); community art activities with Cherryfield Arts Initiative; and more!

For students living in worker camps near the towns of Columbia and Deblois, educational services are also offered on-site. Each week, students and families can enjoy a healthy meal as a part of our Summer Food Service Program mentioned above and enjoy a film screening and analytical discussion. Additionally, Mano en Mano and the Maine Migrant Education Program offer both individual and group tutoring in a variety of subjects and classes in English as a Second Language. For three Saturdays in August, students ages 12+ will have the opportunity to attend field trips including an entrepreneurship workshop in Machias.

Check out more photos from the 2018 blueberry season here:

#MigrantEducationProgram #BlueberryHarvestSchool

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