Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
Our garden consists of 6 raised garden beds built for us out of old pallets by a community volunteer. They are approximately 4 feet by 6 feet in length.
We have recently purchase 4 PVC garden boxes as well.
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
We have grown quite a large variety of veggies in our garden including tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, carrots, spaghetti squash, beans, corn, potatoes, radish, etc. We have had a difficult time growing things like corn and peas.
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
We decided to start our garden as a part of a Partners to End Poverty initiative. We had a group of individuals including myself (Outreach worker at the school), parents, community members take on this project and we did it all with a very low budget. Part of garden project is that low income families with students in our school will take care over the care of the gardens in the summer and keep whatever produce for their families. A community organization called the Marguerite Riel Centre oversees this since there are no staff at the school over the summer months.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
Our Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 classes have all participated in planting and caring for the garden. Grade 5 students have also helped with the watering of the garden. At this time I believe it is the science curriculum within these grades that is being taught in the gardens.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Day to day I would be responsible for managing the garden and making sure students are coming to water and weed it. Over the summer we have a partnership with the Marguerite Riel Centre and low income families within our school as mentioned above.
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?
Low income families keep the harvest from our gardens. We have wanted to do a harvest celebration but it has never actually happened unfortunately.
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 had a lot of community involvement from our local hardware/agro stores donating dirt and seeds, also one of our greenhouses has been very supportive in providing helpful knowledge and also donations of items. We have several very involved parents who run their own strawberry farm and have come to help with planting days. With the help of this grant we have been able to purchase a few PVC garden boxes that should be able to better withstand our winters.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
We would like to see our school garden grow and are needing to relocate due to no longer having a source of water in the area we previously had our garden boxes. Also our homemade garden boxes are not holding up well against our winter weather and are starting to fall apart. Our plan is to relocate to the front of our school where there is a water tap and to purchase more PVC raised garden boxes for this area.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
This is a wonderful endeavour that provides so many benefits both to students and families. Our community has been amazingly supportive in helping us get our garden up and running. I would say don't be afraid to approach greenhouses and hardware stores in your community for support because you never know the response you may get.
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