Mackenzie Sustainable Greenhouse Garden


Our vision was to create a vibrant sustainable school garden that serves as a model of environmental stewardship and helps provide fresh fruit and vegetables for our community.


Our action was to add a compost bin, rain barrels and some pollinator bushes in the form of blueberry bushes to a student led greenhouse garden that was already in progress. Through the integration of rain barrels, composting and pollinator plants, our garden demonstrates the principles of sustainability. We envisioned a garden where rain barrels capture rain water, reducing our reliance on municipal water sources and teaching students about water conservation. The compost bins will transform organic waste from our school into nutrient rich soil. This hands on approach will help educate students about the life cycle of plants, the importance of waste reduction and the benefits of composting. We were very intentional in our selection of the blueberry bushes as a pollinator plant. Blueberries are a native plant to Ontario. Not only do they process numerous delicious berries for our students to eat, but they are also a food source for bees, butterflies and other essential pollinators.

Reflection & Celebration

At the start of this project, the idea seemed pretty simple, we were going to purchase rain barrels, a compost bin and pollinator plants in the form of blueberry bushes as an addition to a greenhouse project that was already in the works. Purchasing these products was the easy part. The tricky part was trying to figure out which rain barrel would work best for the space. The best growing space on our school property is a long way from a school water source. We are going to have to rely heavily on the rain barrels otherwise we will be carting water over a distance. We were able to purchase rain barrels that did not require collecting from the school roof. They have a wide lid that helps to collect the water. Engineering an eavestrough system that is going to attach to our greenhouse roof and collect additional water is the next step in this project. Setting up the compost bin was also really easy. We have already starting adding garden waste. Setting up the compost program to collect organic waste from student lunches has been a bit trickier. It involves setting a schedule and having our high school students who led this program coordinate with the elementary students who tend to bring lunches to school more regularly. Coordinating this schedule is still in its infancy with lots of kinks to be worked out. We do have a lot to celebrate though. We had a group of students take initiative to create this sustainable garden project. They have worked together to create the greenhouse boxes, set up the rain barrels and begun planting. They have reached out to community partners such as our local Horticulture society for donations of soil and knowledge about gardening. Most of these students had little experience with gardening. Our project is still in its early days. The weather this spring has not been cooperative with cooler temperatures and lots of rainy days that made it difficult to get outside. So in the end, what we have to celebrate the most is we have a group of passionate students who are committed to promoting environmental sustainability and want to work with the younger students at the school to keep this project sustainable for the long term.

2. Zero Hunger
4. Quality Education
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
13. Climate Action
15. Life on Land
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