Chilliwack, British Columbia
Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
We have 15 raised beds in boxes, a crop of berry plants, fruit trees and a greenhouse.
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
We grow blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, plums as well as garlic, herbs, potatoes,and a changing rotation of vegetables (tomatoes, pumpkins, lettuce, onions, peas, beans, carrots). Our biggest difficulties come from the neighbourhood cats who use our beds as litter boxes at times.
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
I think it's so important to teach students about where their food comes from and I think having a garden provides a hands-on way for kids to learn. We live in a very agricultural community and this is a natural connection to food, economy, and culture.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
All of our classes visit the garden. We have English classes, music classes, biology, and environmental science out there. A group of students learning American Sign Language meets out there to practice. Our preschool is working on getting their own box started. Our grade 5 class works to compost food scraps from lunch.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Michelle is the garden coordinator and she makes the decisions about the running of the garden. Teachers book time in the garden through the office. We hire students to work in the garden over the summer months.
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 use the produce for our school needs (soup, smoothie bar, foods class etc) and donate to our local Salvation Army.
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 an active community of parents and volunteers involved. We have been running our garden for about 10 years and have received several other donations and gifts throughout the years.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
Keep it going! We just added our greenhouse and will be expanding our growing season into the winter months. We would like to add a pumpkin patch for our elementary classes. We would like to expand our native plant garden.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
Start small! We started with just 10 raised boxes and a shed and worked on building interest and excitement to add more and more features over time. It is always exciting to see kids faces when something they planted sprouts and begins to bear fruit or gets ready to be harvested. Kids will eat anything in the garden - lettuce, tomatoes, peas, and even herbs are enthusiastically sampled in the garden.
Nutrients for Life is supported by: