Food for Thought – Sustainable Urban Farming project
Our vision is to create local, sustainable food options. At KDHS the Food for Thought – Sustainable Urban Farming project is designed based on project-based learning where students actively engage in learning how to grow food in Northern Ontario using indoor hydroponic and aquaponic technology to grow food throughout the year. With the money we received from the Youth Forum we plan on expanding on our current food systems in place to teach students that living in the north does not mean we are not capable of growing healthy, local food. The project is designed off of a living laboratory where students go through the entire process of growing food from seed to harvest. The goal is to inspire students to take this knowledge home and to begin growing some of their own food with their families. The Food for Thought – Sustainable Urban Farming project exposes students to future farming technology in the form of hydroponic and aquaponic systems. We are also looking forward to investing in ZipGrow hydroponic grow systems to be placed in the school cafeteria where we will grow a living salad bar for students to learn and eat from this hyper-local growing method. This project aims to be a model school farm that can be adapted to all schools across Canada to teach about growing local food, eating fresh from the school produce and helping combat hunger and climate change. The benefits of this initiative are immeasurable.
This year, with the support of LSF and the grant money from the Youth Forum, the Food for Thought – Sustainable Urban Farming project is creating an edible forest here at KDHS. We were able to invest in harvest fruit trees and shrubs that will grow in our grow zone. The class decided to invest in a variety of different fruits such as cherries, pears, kiwis, raspberries, strawberries, haskaps and also some indoor fruit trees such as figs and calamondin trees to grow throughout the year. This project is a long-term goal where students are planting with the goal of providing fresh fruit options to future students of KDHS. It also serves as a method to combat climate change as we teach students the importance of growing food locally to reduce dependence on imported food, and also the trees will serve as a carbon sink to capture and store CO2 from the atmosphere. The end goal is that students learn through doing and this project is definitely something that will benefit the school for many years to come.
Reflection & Celebration
Students were engaged throughout the process, from the completion of the LSF workshops on climate change to the selection of plant varieties and the planting of the trees and shrubs. Although most of them will not see the final result when these trees start fruiting and providing to the school, they will have the opportunity to pick and eat some of the berries that are already fruiting. In fact students have been enjoying the strawberries and rush to class to pick the ripe berries before their peers get to them. It is going to be an absolute honour to have these students return to the school for future anniversary celebrations and see the fruit of their labour (all puns intended). It is also a lesson for the staff and students of the school, that these kinds of projects take time and that a healthy, sustainable future requires work now that they may not entirely see the outcome or benefits immediately. I can’t wait to see this edible forest mature and provide for the school for decades to come. We are beyond grateful to the LSF for this unique and engaging opportunity.
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