Courtyard Garden Box Project


Prior to our garden box project, students in Foods and Nutrition classes had been learning about sustainability, limiting food waste, the importance of composting, and growing your own produce. The topic of composting came up as we discussed ways that we could reduce our carbon footprint. Composting is one of the things we can easily do in our Foods classes that could help the planet. Although winter is not the ideal time to start a composting station (spring is best), we needed to get rid of all the food scraps that we have been saving since September. All our compost was being stored in the freezer until our composters arrived.

The vision here is to empower students with education on topics of caring for our planet and thinking sustainably. The goal would be to build a garden in our courtyard, along with our compost station, and grow our own food to use in the Foods and Nutrition and Breakfast Club school programs.


After we received the composters, students had to shovel a path in order to put the composters outside in our courtyard. We placed the composters on top of the snow, to later dig a bit into the ground after the spring thaw. We chose a spot that will get the most daylight and also a place where it will be well ventilated for airflow. Then we created a base layer consisting of “brown materials”, such as brown paper bags, pine tree branches (recycling a Christmas tree), cardboard, paper towel rolls, and egg cartons made of cardboard. Then we put our “green materials” on top of this, such as all the food scraps we had saved, which was mostly vegetable and fruit peels and cores, and egg shells. And that was it!

Next, we had to wait until spring to dig it into the ground a few inches and stir up the compost. Then a student in the Wood Working Technology program drafted a plan and began creating the garden box. After a few weeks the garden was built, both solid, long lasting cedar wood, will make it stand up and is very sustainable.

We need to wait until the fall to get the soil and plant some garlic. We have plans to plant more next spring for low maintenance fall root vegetables. Here we are able to enjoy our garden where we can mix the composted “black gold” into the garden soil. We are excited to continue this project.

We will keep you posted on our progress!

-Ms. Ali Froehlich
Foods and Nutrition Teacher @ College St. Norbert Collegiate

Ways to help our Planet:

– Remember that 30% of our carbon footprint comes from our diet.
– Look for alternative food choices that are produced with fewer emissions, eat less meat and dairy, have a “meatless Monday”, or even just one meatless meal a week makes a big difference in cutting global emissions.
– Create less food waste that ends up in the landfill creating methane gases, and compost what may be compostable, try not to buy too much, and not serve yourself more than you will eat.
– Try to buy local, read packaging to find out where your food comes from.
– Think about the “carbon footprint” of anything you buy.
– Only buy what you need.
– REUSE and RECYCLE everything you can.

Reflection & Celebration

Students were excited to be involved in this ongoing project. With support from LSF to create our beautiful garden box, it inspires students and staff to appreciate the importance of sustainability and looking out for our planet. Students realized that they can do small things and this can make a big difference in working towards a better, more sustainable, planet.


Throughout our project, we used this source to learn more about making “black gold”!

3. Good Health and Well-Being
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
13. Climate Action
15. Life on Land
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