DM ECO Community Garden and Organics Recycling Project
Our school Eco team’s vision for a more sustainable Canada, includes increased awareness and understanding of the benefits of locally grown food, especially from community gardens. These include shrinking our carbon footprint by reducing food miles and increasing green space and the reduction of food waste by the increased use of organics recycling. All of these help fight climate change. Our project is to expand our Denis Morris Eco Community Garden to create more awareness about sustainability and locally grown food for students, and to involve more students in the actual gardening process to help foster a greater sense of belonging and stewardship for the community. The harvest will also provide healthy food choices for students and local community members to enjoy. As an extension to our community garden, the Eco team is also promoting the importance of organics recycling, by introducing and coordinating the Green Bin recycling program at the school. The expansion of our community garden is an important issue because many students in our school community do not have gardens, they are unaware of the benefits of community gardens and local food production and would not understand the link between food production and food waste. Therefore a joint project with the expansion of our school community garden and the promotion of organics recycling creates a fluid and engaging learning opportunity for students and the community about food production and food waste.
Expanding our community garden allows us to better use the green space in our school yard. Environmentally, it adds beauty to the school, sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and filters rainwater. Socially, it promotes active living for those students involved in taking care of the garden and provides a sense of responsibility to students who do not have access to a garden at home. Students have been continuously involved in the planning, planting and harvesting of the garden and will continually be involved as well. Students physically prepared the garden for planting and then physically planted the seedlings in the garden. We hope to include more students in the entire process as the garden continues to grow in size. To introduce the Organics Recycling program to the school, a student-led, interactive assembly was held in the theatre to raise awareness and promote the program. The Eco team have now placed the bins in key locations around the school and are actively collecting the composted materials on a weekly basis.
Reflection & Celebration
The challenges that we have encountered with this project are the weather. We got started on our garden a little late this year but now that the weather is looking up, we have been able to plant our seeds and seedlings. For the organics recycling project, it was difficult to get the students to overcome their nerves to do a presentation in front of the school. Once they rehearsed enough, they ended up presenting a very informative presentation to introduce the program! We have also had a few issues with the collection process of the organics recycling but we are working on making the process a bit smoother.
We are excited to continue to work on the garden throughout the summer and to harvest in the late summer/fall. We will also continue the organics recycling program in the fall again as well.