Grow to Give Greenhouse
Jack Layton Award | Honourable Mention
Sustainability Vision for the Grow to Give Greenhouse Project at
Landmark Elementary School:
We would like to see all of our school families involved in home gardening over the summer and enjoying locally produced food.
We would like to have all our school families involved in recycling and composting at home.
We want all of our students to continue to learn about food challenges globally and to take part in efforts to help other communities produce food.
We want to collect data in our greenhouse that will be able to be shared with Food Matters Manitoba personnel that are working in northern Manitoba to help establish greenhouses and gardening projects that promote local food production. Food Matters personnel have visited our greenhouse and have asked us to help them by using the research and development data, the model and the instructional video (being developed) of our solar heater system.
We have a vision to learn, share and grow.
Grow to Give Project
Our main goal is to promote sustainable lifestyles starting with our leaders of the future, kids!
Some of the choices our school has made already include recycling and composting. Our composting program includes back yard composters, vermi composters as well as industrial composting. Students also see the full process and benefits of composting; from the time food scraps are put into the compost, to how it breaks down, to how it will be used to enrich soil. Students take part in annual food–plant growing in the greenhouse (spring and fall) and are encouraged to grow gardens at home and enjoy fresh produce.
Our vision for this program is to provide EVERY student in our school with the opportunity to start seeds in our greenhouse using a compost/soil mix, care for their plants and take them home in June to be planted in their own gardens or flower beds. The students were in charge of caring for their plant(s) over the summer. In October, we will ask the students and their families to donate the harvest or a dish prepared from locally produced foods to our program, Grow to Give, so that we can prepare a harvest “Thanksgiving” celebration feast and fundraiser for the community. We would also like to donate some food to those in need in our area. Funds raised at this fundraiser will go back to Grow to Give, as well as our Global WE charity which focuses on food production in developing countries..
The installation of solar electricity began in the spring of 2013. It runs the fans and a light for our Greenhouse. We are also in the process of installing a rain water retention system to go completely off the grid for this greenhouse operation. We hope to have the rainwater retention system done over the coming year. We also have two large pop can solar heaters that our students helped to build during the last school year with the help of a community partner/volunteer. Our solar heaters use about 550 cans. By using the heaters to heat up water in our recycled 45 gallon barrels inside the greenhouse, we will be able to store the heat at night. We are hoping these heaters will allow us to start planting a bit earlier each spring and extend our fall season for lettuce planting. Some of the older students in the school will be monitoring the temperature data from our greenhouse devices and the outside temperature so we can share the improvements we see using the solar system we have incorporated. These students will be learning about data collection as part of their math program.
Our project not only provides education for a sustainable future, but also an action plan for students to make better choices for our environment. Our students are able to work with community volunteers, share in shaping local food production practices, learn about how growing vegetables effects the family economy and see that working together they can affect social/cultural changes both locally and globally. Some of the students who have become more involved are learning leadership skills and teamwork. When students become involved with these types of projects, many parents and community members also hear about it and will also take action towards the same cause.