Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
Our garden is mostly raised gardening beds. We have some plants that are in the ground but any food sources will be planted in the raised gardening beds. We have 4 raised gardening beds for food and then one centre raised gardening bed for planting flowers that resemble fire. We plant our flower bed to look like fire as a way to bring in Indigenous perspectives and learning into our learning/gardening area. Our learning area and garden is designed as a circle so that learning and sharing may take place outdoors and around nature. This learning area saw many visits from classrooms throughout the year as they prepped, planted, observed, harvested, and engaged in discussions about plants, life cycles, fertilizers, and the importance of taking care of our planet.
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
In 2022, our gardening boxes grew carrots, peas, beans, corn, dill, parsley, cilantro, squash, and radishes.
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
We decided to add a school garden because we wanted to add life to our outdoor learning area and add more nature to our school. Since we are a new school and a new community, we don't have many trees or naturally occurring plants around our school since our community used to be farmland and many of our naturally occurring plants were destroyed during the development of the community. We want to show our students the importance of nature and the benefits of growing our own food.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
Science, social studies, art, health, math, English, French.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Day to day our classrooms looked after our gardens and over the summer break our daycare looked after our garden. In future years, we hope to involve our community more and ask them to aid in the upkeep of our garden. By doing so, they would get to enjoy the benefits of the garden as well by taking home the produce that is ready to enjoy.
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?
This year our classrooms enjoyed the harvest at snack time in September, and some students tasted the harvest throughout the summer as they would come to our school to play in the field and on our basketball court.
Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?
Community involvement is our goal for next year.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
We hope to bring in community involvement, start planting earlier in classrooms and hopefully build more planter boxes now that our industrial arts shop is open in our school!
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
It might be scary and overwhelming to start a school garden, but it is so worth it! Look for grants from places like NFL to get you started and then just have fun! Students love it and so will you!! Our students would be over at the gardens all the time to look at the plants progress! Recess time would often be spent enjoying our learning and garden area.
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