Holy Heart Community Garden
My Action Project plan is to create and aid in the upkeep of a school garden and potentially a composting system. I have acquired the help of a Horticulture Technician, as well as the nutrition teacher at Holy Heart to complete this project. The plan is to install a 2″ x 12″ x 20′ planter’s box in the courtyard of Holy Heart beginning in May. We will then add a cubic yard of soil to the box before the end of the school year. When I come back to school for my grade twelve year, I will partner with our nutrition teacher (and her class) to plant a plethora of vegetables (mostly root) such as spinach, kale, potatoes, carrots, etc. At the first risk of frost, we will install a small hoop house covering to maintain the garden over the colder months. The covering will act as a greenhouse to aid with season extension. In the spring of 2023, I hope to plant more vegetables as well as add a composting system to the garden with the help of the Sustainability Coordinator at MUN. A teacher or I will complete a composting training program to properly compost. This project is very important to our school as a part of the NLESD. I was inspired to take on this issue because a big part of Newfoundland’s future relies on sustainable food and agriculture within our province. The more food we can grow in our own backyard, the better. This would help with the cost of production and purchase. Another big factor in this is carbon footprint and environmental impact. Right now, the majority of our vegetables come from places very far away. These vegetables have to be grown with pesticides, whereas ours will be grown organically. They have to be packaged with plastics, then driven and/or flown across numerous countries and provinces. This creates a large environmental impact just for people in our community to be able to eat the produce. The vegetables in our school garden will be grown in organic soil without the use of pesticides and will have effectively zero carbon footprint. When the compost is installed, we will also be able to use the fertile soil created by that to continue the garden in the future. In years to come, this garden could potentially be expanded and the produce could be integrated into the food sold at our school. This is important to my community, not only because of the positive environmental impacts but also because gardening brings people together. It can help people in need, create new friendships, and get people to go outside which is beneficial to the mental well-being of everyone involved. This project and your help in funding it have the potential to impact the people of Newfoundland for years to come.
My Action Project plan lead to a bigger vision for a sustainable future at my school. I collaborated with my nutrition teacher and the learning resource coordinator to start the vision for a garden that will grow more over the years. The actions I took to start this are as follows: measuring our courtyard area; meeting with teachers at my school to discuss my plans; building and installing the planter’s box (with the help of a horticulture specialist), and finding the best organic soil for the climate in Newfoundland. The installation and utilization of this garden will ensure a greener future for my school. As a team, we are working on eventually creating a sustainable lunch program, which would use the produce from what will become somewhat of a community garden for the school community. The upkeep will be implemented into the International Baccalaureate (CAS) and nutrition curriculum at Holy Heart. This will be a large group project. I was inspired to take on this issue because I believe sustainable agriculture is one of the most pressing issues in my province today. This was highlighted in my mind during the pandemic, we are creating such a large carbon footprint by importing food from all around the world when a lot of these products can be grown right in our backyard. I hope small projects such as mine will create a larger impact and/or start a conversation about food sustainability and security. This project is important to my community because it is my way to give back to the student body at my school. HHM is a very diverse school, we have students in many different financial, living, and nutrition situations. My hope is that my Action Plan will positively impact not only the environment but also the students within Holy Heart.
Reflection & Celebration
I am so grateful for your grant. It has already brought so many people together at Holy Heart. This is the beginning of a wonderful, more sustainable future for my school and my province. Thank you!