R.B.C.S. Garden – Feeding Our Community
Our vision for Canada is one where all children have access to safe, affordable, and healthy foods. Living in a semi-isolated community, our students do not always have this luxury. Gardening in Flin Flon has added challenges; much of the soil is too contaminated from years of sulphur and heavy metal emissions from the mining and smelter operations, and as a result, has to be trucked in from the south. Furthermore, Flin Flon is built on volcanic rock. These challenges mean that gardening in town requires raised beds which can add to the cost and lack of availability of community gardens.
We want to teach our students how to grow a garden to provide for the community in a cost-effective manner. The garden will allow our students to access fresh fruit and vegetables, which will help support our school snack and breakfast program, and teach environmental responsibility.
Flin Flon is located in Canada’s poorest federal riding and as it is located in Northern Manitoba, the availability of affordable fresh produce year round is not always a reality for many of our families.
By building a School Community Garden, we are enabling students with the knowledge to build, grow, and harvest their own fresh fruit and vegetables. As a school, we will be demonstrating how to utilize fresh fruits and vegetables in daily meals and snacks.
By building a raised bed garden, with an impermeable base, we are ensuring that our garden does not become contaminated by any toxic materials that remain in the soil.
We are also teaching our students that when we work together as a community, great and positive change can happen.
Our garden will incorporate traditional, and medicine wheel, teachings which were taught to our outdoor education class, by a local Elder. Our garden will contain a plant medicine wheel, ceremonial plants, and a three sisters garden. The garden will be blessed by a community Elder with an offering made, prior to planting, to incorporate traditional knowledge.
Reflection & Celebration
Our middle school students celebrated the opening of the community garden by inviting an Elder to a smudging ceremony, prior to planting in the garden. The Elder smudged each of the garden boxes to ensure that only good grew in the garden.
When the soil is warm enough, we will extend the invitation school wide to plant the garden, so that each student is involved in the garden. For our planting day, we intend to invite the media and to publish the photos on the school Facebook page.