Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
We are growing leafy greens year-round in the Sub-Arctic using a Growcer hydroponic unit. The Growcer is a 40ft shipping container retro-fitted with state of the art hydroponic growing equipment!
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
We grow mainly leafy greens including leaf lettuce, butterhead lettuce, spinach, kale, bok choy and an assortment of fresh herbs. Swiss Chard seems to be giving us the most trouble these days which is interesting because I"m pretty sure that grows really well in conventional gardens. We recently sold our 40,000 piece of Rocket Greens produce!
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
We are working to address food security issues in our small remote town and to share our experiences with other communities who might be facing similar challenges to Churchill.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
We are not currently teaching any subjects in our garden but share our experiences with guests of all ages.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Carley Basler, Sustainability Coordinator manages the garden. We have employed some seasonal interns to assist with harvesting and maintenance.
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 harvest about 350 plants each week. We run a subscription service for 55 households and also market out produce at both local grocery stores, our cafeteria, the local hospital cafeteria and a couple of seasonal restaurants.
Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?
We currently do not use volunteers for our garden. We have accessed additional funding from Northern Manitoba Food, Culture and Community Collaborative, the Churchill Regional Economic Development Fund, and the Northern Healthy Foods Initiative.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
We will continue to improve our growing capacity, share our stories with other communities as well as within our own and hopefully be able to expand to offer more locally grown food in our subscription service.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
Plant a seed and see what happens. Plants are amazing.
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