Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
Our garden consists of 6 raised beds at the moment. We enclosed the space with green fencing and attached a sign made by our Graphic Arts department. We were fortunate to have our wood shop and welding shop put the garden together making it a community project.
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
Thanks to Nutrients for Life, this was our first year growing a sustainable garden. We had spinach, lettuce, beets, radishes, carrots, corn, sunflowers, peas, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, ground cherries and a wide variety of herbs. The corn did not do particularly well and neither did the peas or beans. The conditions were very hot in Winnipeg this year and we had no shade which may have contributed.
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
We wanted to give students the opportunity to see where their food comes from. They were able to watch planted seeds become edible vegetables. In addition, sustainable school gardens are easily connected with curricular outcomes across the subject areas offered at the secondary level. There is also strong evidence to support school gardens with health and well-being in the schools. Getting kids outside and away from traditional desks to experience fresh air and hands-on learning can promote well-being and healthy, active living.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
"Our school offers very diverse programming from Academic to French Immersion, International Baccalaureate to Vocational programs. A sustainable garden connects to so many of the curricular outcomes across the subject areas. To give some specific examples, we had Grade 10 Geography students, Grade 10 Français: Communication et Culture students, Students working on volunteer service and
Photography students all make use of the school garden."
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Day to day, we had a small group of students and about 6 staff members who offered to go out and weed or water. In the summer we had student volunteers and a number of staff members tend to the garden. Staff members would often bring their family which again, builds community.
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 planted later in the school year so most of the harvest came in summer when school was not in session. We did take some classes out to experience and try the vegetables straight from plant to mouth. We are excited to have more time to plan and plant this year and hope to have a fall harvest celebration. Our lettuce and spinach did very well so grown later in the summer, I think we could do more with it. The heat also negatively impacted us this year.
Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?
"We certainly had community involvement. Our garden is right near our school baseball diamond and adjacent to a brand new basketball and tennis court. Often in the summer community members would be out and come over to visit or ask questions. They seemed pleased to see a garden in the area. We offered produce if they were interested so that they could try something grown here in their community. Parents were not involved this year but it is something we would consider for the future.
We have talked about having fundraising in the spring to support continued growth of the garden. "
What are your future plans for the school garden?
We are excited to have more time leading up to the garden season this year. We hope to plant more conscientiously and with the intent to have a longer growing season. We also hope to have additional school and community involvement.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
Receiving the grant made it easy to get started. We were fortunate to have a team of people here at the school who were willing to help build the beds. The first year can be tough but you learn from experience and a sustainable school garden provides a unique outdoor opportunity for staff and students to learn and promote well-being.
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