Cold Lake, Alberta
Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
This year our Life Skills program at Cold Lake High School was very fortunate to receive the Nutrients for Life Learning Garden grant. The overall goal for the class was to work with Mr. Nichol to learn more about where food comes from, and then ultimately learn to prepare a meal using the vegetables we have grown in September for a Life skills Fall Supper.
We started the semester out with trips to our Community Garden in Cold Lake that is only 200m away from our school. Working with the Community Garden Society we were able to secure two wheelchair accessible raised garden beds. Once our location was secure, we took several trips out to the gardens to look for clues as to what vegetables were grown there previously. Students in Life skills had very little knowledge or understanding about where their food comes from, and how it is grown. The resources in the program along with the grant funding allowed our class to see the complete process in real time in the classroom and in our community garden.
Back at the school we made models of the community garden, learned about plant soil interactions, and used the NFL resources and posters to help us start investigating soil health in the garden. We buried the underwear on an early trip out to the garden as well!
Inside the classroom we partnered with our environmental club to acquire some hydroponics equipment to start our seeds inside before transplanting them outside in the garden. The students saw growth in only a few days from the peas, beans, cucumbers, herbs and carrots that they planted.
Throughout the semester the community garden became our classroom for the day as we learned to make art from compostable materials and foliage in the style of Andy Goldsworthy. https://www.boredpanda.com/land-art-andy-goldsworthy/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic
The class spend an afternoon taking our starter plants and putting the
m into our garden beds, and then we took frequent watering trips to keep the soil moist with all of the hot weather we have had so far this spring. Within a couple weeks we have had our lettuce back and flourishing, our corn and beans have rooted and started strong, and a few cucumber plants have sprouted. Some students even got to taste the lettuce and the green onions!
Funds from the NFL grant provided us with garden plot rentals, seeds, hand tool kits for each of the students, and some seed packs for the students to take home to plant vegetables at home. Funds also went towards the grow light system for starting seeds indoors. All of the equipment will be used again next year so the impact of the funding will help our Life skills class for years to come!
What are your future plans for the school garden?
Looking to the future, the plan is for Mr. Nichol and his family to continue to tend the gardens this summer, and then work with the Life skills class to harvest the vegetables in the fall. After harvesting we will host a fall supper in the classroom and work on cooking skills! As for the underwear, we dug it up after 7 weeks to find it had partially decomposed, so we reburied it, and will check in on it after the summer is over.
Thank you so much to the NFL program for your support of our Life skills Garden Project this year!
Nutrients for Life is supported by: