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Georges P Vanier Catholic School

Chatham, Ontario

Size of school

220 students
Grade levels

K - 8
Students participating

220 students
Grant received

Learning Garden Grant ($3000)


About our Garden

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

We have 4- 4X8ft raised garden beds. And 5- 2X2ft raised garden beds.

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

We grew:

beefsteak tomatoes
cherry tomatoes.
peppers (hot/sweet)
swiss chard

We had a difficult time growing raspberries and melon. (not enough space)

Why did your school decide to add a school garden?

We wanted our students to experience the importance of healthy eating and ability to grow their own food.

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

Kindergarten to grade 8

Importance of healthy eating

(health, physical education, science and technology, literacy, math)

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

Our school community manages the garden day to day but mostly by the kindergarten students.

The parent community signed up to take care of the garden by weeks during the summer months. When their week came up, they were asked to weed, water and harvest the plants.

Our school hosted the summer learning program who also maintained the garden for 3 weeks in July.

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?

We harvested broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers and swiss chard.

We did not have a harvest celebration but we did have the students pick vegetables and then washed/cut them. They then went to different classes to share the vegetables with different students.

We harvested a squash to compare to pumpkins picked from a local pumpkin patch.

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

We were able to ask a family from our school community who owns a Nursery to donate all the soil for our garden beds. Our parent community also donated all the vegetable plants that we planted in our garden. Some of these plants were brought in from family gardens, others were purchased and donated.

What are your future plans for the school garden?

Our future plans for the garden are to create a few more garden beds to grow more vegetables. Also we are planning to create an indoor garden for the winter months using growing lamps in order to grow our seedlings/plants in the spring.

We would also like to give back to the community by supplying our local food banks with fresh vegetables.

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

Create a hands on experience by involving your school in every step of the process. Get as many grade levels and community partnerships involved as possible.