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Almighty Voice Education Centre (One Arrow First Nation)

Bellevue , Saskatchewan

Size of school

265 students
Grade levels

Students participating

265 students
Grant received

School Garden Grant ($500)


About our Garden

Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?

Our garden is a large space where we have a mix of some raised beds along with a large open ground space for planting into the ground. We have adopted using plastic for the bushes we planted to help keep the weeds down.

What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?

We have a large garden space that has raspberries, haskaps, blueberries, saskatoons, and apple trees for our fruit. Seasonally, we till the ground and plant a lot of potatoes , zucchini, carrots, and other vegetables. This year the carrots did not grow well at all. We had a grade start sunflowers from seed and planted them in the garden to grow. There are also 10 raised beds for strawberries and flowers.

Why did your school decide to add a school garden?

We had the space available to use as we no longer had horses in the arena area outside. We also have a land based program that the garden is part of. Our kitchen uses some of the produce for the meals they cook, especially the potatoes. We have teachers who enjoy gardening and taking the students out to show them how to plant, weed, water, and care for the garden until harvest when we enjoy the bounty. Each student can take home potatoes at harvest time.

What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?

All the classes can participate in the garden, but the younger grades to grade 9 access the garden the most. We are tying in language arts through journal writing and story telling. Math is easily taught through counting, shapes and sizing, and other subtopics. Teachers use the garden to support their science units. We have built a pergola with two picnic tables and a fire pit that allows for outdoor work and gatherings to be planned by teachers as well.

Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?

Day to day, we have two staff who support the planning of the garden with the classes. Our maintenance staff have a garden tractor with a rototiller attachment which makes for working the weeds down much easier. Every class gets a bag of potatoes to plant, so we plan for each class to participate in this planting along with other seeds they choose. We also have a hand / push rototiller that is used between rows once the plants are in the ground. The students come out in groups of two with EAs or in classes to help with weeding, watering, and pruning the perennials. In the summer, we have summer students who are in charge of maintaining the garden over the summer. In September, we resume the care of the garden and harvest with all the students and classes.

What do you do with the harvest from your garden? Do you have a harvest celebration? Do you use it in the cafeteria, or culinary classes? Do you donate some of the produce?

Our summer fruits are picked by the summer students and shared with the elders in the community. The potatoes are the most abundant of our vegetables. They are used in the school kitchen for meals, for the Thanksgiving celebration, and all students and staff take home a bag of potatoes for their families to benefit from the bounty.

Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?

We have some involvement in the summer with elders coming to pick the fruit. We have not grown our garden beyond the students and staff managing it yet. We have used the generous grant of $500 from Nutrients for Life to put up a fence around the garden space to keep the wildlife out of the garden.

What are your future plans for the school garden?

The garden is hopefully going to have more student direction and be run by a core group of students who have an interest in overseeing the garden project.

Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?

Garden space whether in small planters or large in a ground space is very beneficial to a school. It benefits all our students, including those that need more movement and heavy work, those that love to be outdoors, and those who enjoy having a change in their learning environment. Staff find it is easy to integrate curriculum from a variety of subjects. Kids are smiling to be out in the garden. If you have a chance to start, do it. We have some students who need a body break and love to be in the garden. They have been able to stay in school for full days and complete more work and have quality learning experiences that stem from being able to be in the garden. Planting potatoes has brought about much conversation about the eyes allowing a new plant to grow (different from seeds of other plants). Every year we are harvesting, the students comment on finding the original potato they planted and how many new potatoes grew from that plant! A favorite activity for Grade 1 has been to harvest the zucchini and make a cake. They participate in planting, watering, and weeding in the spring, then harvesting it, shredding it and making it into a cake. So delicious! Some of the Grade 4-8 students help wash potatoes, poke them and bake them . Then, once cooled, they cut them up and have them ready for the kitchen staff to fry for hash browns for breakfast. They share with their friends how they were the ones who helped make the breakfast and get a sense of pride because their peers and staff are enjoying them and commenting on how scrumptious they are. "If you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. When you teach them to fish, you feed them for a lifetime." This is a saying we use to explain why it is so important to have students participate in all parts of the garden.