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Jaffray Elementary & Junior Secondary

Jaffray, British Columbia

Grant received

School Garden Grant


About our Garden

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

We just put in an fence surrounding the garden, are currently building a greenhouse and have 6 small raised bed gardens. However, we are currently building 10 larger raised bed garden boxes (one for each classroom). We also have a tumbler compost and a worm compost.
Right now the $500 grant we received went towards soil, mason bees and seeds.

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

We grow: spinach, kale, lettuce, beans, onions, a variety of herbs and garlic. We have a hard time growing most fruits as the deer were eating most of it. Now that we have a perimeter fence it shouldn't be a problem.

Why did your school decide to add a school garden?

Well it started with just me (the seed:). As a teacher, I have always grown plants inside of my classroom and it is such a joy to now have the opportunity to continue that growing season outside in a garden. I love to teach about sustainable living. It involves/integrates multiple subjects and promotes planning and critical thinking. Now over the course of 3 years I have all the teachers on board!

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

Well right now it has only been my class that has participated but by this spring it will now be school wide. Currently every class is participating in our compost program and by spring/summer every class will have their own garden box to grow whatever each class wants. We even have our high school Home Economics class growing vegetables and herbs for their cooking program.
All subjects are taught and this winter we are putting together a garden binder to give teachers ideas on how to integrate the garden into different subject areas. We also have our Aboriginal Worker buying some indigenous berry plants to plant around the inside perimeter of the garden fence.

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

I manage the garden currently day to day but by spring all teachers will be involved. Over the summer myself and a parent who lives across the street from the school will be managing it. Our next step is to raise money to fix the irrigation system so that the garden can be self watering.

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 past spring our Home Economics class used all of our spinach for a variety of meals from quiche to puff pastries. My class made fruit and vegetable smoothies using the kale and spinach. We also had a class salad. But this spring, with more involvement and gardens we hope to sell some produce at a local market and to be able to provide our Home Economics class with all its produce.

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

Due to the larger sums we have received from Wildsight and Columbian Basin Trust as well as from you(Nutrients for Life) our garden project is finally taking off. Our goal is to sell some of our produce at our local markets on Wednesday evenings utilizing both parents and student volunteers. Come spring we are hoping to involve a lot more parent help.

What are your future plans for the school garden?

We would like to plant some fruit trees for both fruit and shade. As well as a sitting circle. We would also like to expand our flowering plants for to help our local pollinators.

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

It's okay to start small and don't be afraid to go it alone at the beginning. With enough enthusiasm staff will want to get involved as the momentum builds.