Our vision for Canada is to make our communities more sustainable and get people back into supporting local, organic businesses and suppliers, and building respect for the Earth and what it can produce. In our view, this helps kids take pride in their communities, teaches them valuable lessons about the connections we can have/make with the land, and the importance of protecting the land for future use. This is a key issue in ANY community, as connections to the land are broken by growing sedentary lifestyles and disconnect from where we get our food, medicines, etc. We are town nestled in a rural area, where a good majority of our surrounding land is farmland. This plan helps students make connections to the community around them and realize its importance.
Our plan was to take our currently unused “Community Garden” on school property, and turn it into a student tended garden for growing fruits/vegetables and flowers/plants. In-keeping with our Science curriculum, our junior and intermediate students, working in partnership with our community leader, would be responsible for the basics of setting up the garden (examining soil, tilling, setting up protections from animals/weather/stray soccer balls), brainstorming plants to add to the garden, and prepping the garden for the change of seasons. The whole school/ other classes would help in the planting, watering, weeding, and maintenance of the garden on a rotating schedule. The vegetables themselves would be used for our school breakfast program/snack program and other community events. This action would bring our community and school population closer together, allow students to feel pride and accomplishment, and give them a greater respect and understanding for the Earth. It would increase activity and allow for outdoor educational moments and learning, while building a new and strengthened connection to the land. It encourages the use of local produce and products, reduces our carbon footprint by the use of our school compost, and having our snack/breakfast programs benefit from using school grown food. The involvement of both student population and community members will create positive relationships in the community, and students will be able to see the lasting effects of something they helped plan and create. We spent a good portion of our time and effort in partnership with the community garden leader to refurbish the garden: getting funds/donations, building garden boxes, spreading topsoil and manure, replacing the fence, purchasing plants and planting. We also helped keep the school community aware of our efforts and invited some interested students to help us with preparing the space. Right now, we are in the process of planting our fruits and vegetables, and hope to harvest them for use with our community this summer, and for our breakfast club later in June.