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Champlain’s Indoor Growing

Vision

Being an EcoSchool, we decided to invest in a Nutritower growing system. This hydroponic system will allow
our students to harvest fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs no matter the climate or season. Our goal is to
educate the staff, students and community that it’s possible to grow healthy foods indoors year-round. In
Canada and especially in Northern Ontario where we live, it is pretty much impossible to buy local
sustainable foods because of our cold climate (from October to May). Thus, this tower will encourage others
that it’s possible to have their own hydroponic system in their homes in order to have a more sustainable
Canada. The primary issue is educating our students and staff of the importance of reducing our carbon
footprint. One of the ways to achieve this goal, is to be aware of where our food comes from and how did it
travel to our plate. According to David Suzuki “The average meal travels 1,200 kilometres from
the farm to plate. Food grown closer to home produces fewer transportation
emissions, is fresher and supports local farmers. As the distance food travels decreases,
so does the need for processing and refrigeration to reduce spoilage.”
The hydroponic system is a perfect way to illustrate how reducing CO 2 emission is easier than they think.
We hope that this will motivate others to take action on a serious problem.

Action

By purchasing a Nutritower system, we tough students from the nutrition classes as well as students from our Eco-
Team to plant from seed to harvest. Many courses at our school, incorporated learning about healthy eating, climate
change and sustainable foods. For example, in the kinesiology course, students learned how plant-based diets help
enormously reduce our carbon foot-print and is very healthy for our body. The Towers were also used by the nutrition
classes to make a variety of recipes, such as dill dip, salad with basil dressings, smoothies with kale, etc. Not only did
they make food, but they had to also do a final project on local business and the food they produce. This project
encouraged our school community to support these wonderful businesses. The students didn’t realize that the
vegetables they eat during winter months, have travelled countless kilometers and have burnt a great amount of fossil
fuels to reach their house. Thus, eating local is a solution to help minimize climate change.
This project did not only reduce carbon footprint but encouraged our students as well as the staff to eat healthier as
well. We offered the staff to bring their own containers and take advantage of fresh produce to take home. This way
of growing food did not only encourage the staff to eat healthy, but also minimized food packaging by using reusable
containers.
The students from our environment club are continuously helping plant and upkeep the Nutritower system on a regular
basis with the help of a few teachers. We used our school’s social media (ex. Instagram and Facebook) to show the
community how our school is educating students about sustainable foods.
Champlain will continue to take action towards educating students to come about sustainable food and climate
change.

Reflection & Celebration

-Champlain is continuing to learn about how to incorporate the hydroponic system in our classrooms. It’s not always
easy to encourage other staff members to incorporate lessons about the environment in their curriculums. But we do
see a slow progression and collaboration between staff members.
-The pandemic affected our original project. We wanted to have big assembly in the gym and invite local business to
our school to teach about sustainable foods to the entire school. However, we are very limited in social gatherings.
We plan and hope do continue and do more next year and celebrate our successes continuously. This isn’t a one-time
project/action towards the environment. This will be ongoing for years to come.
– Champlain plans to purchase a third tower in the near future.
-One of our teachers really loved learning about the hydroponic system, that they decided to purchase one for their
home.

13. Climate Action
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
3. Good Health and Well-Being
9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
2. Zero Hunger
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