Multicultural Herb Garden
After our teachers Mrs. Cestnik and Mrs Longhurst went to the LSF Youth Forum, we learned more about what LSF is and what we could do with a $500 grant. At first, we brainstormed ideas of what we could do with the grant money. We started thinking about planting a garden, but to make it accessible we realized it would need to be a raised garden.
We brainstormed about what type of garden it could be (e.g., flower, vegetables and herbs). Initially we decided to do an herb garden, but after more talk, we decided to do a multicultural herb garden as our school has a very diverse population. We created two surveys. One was a Google form for students in grades 4 – 8 and the other on paper for grades 2 and 3. The purpose of the survey was to figure out the ethnic backgrounds of students. We used this information to help us determine what herbs those counties commonly use in their cultural cuisine. Our club created a shared Google document and started investigating popular dishes in all of the countries on our list. We then analyzed what were most common herbs and made a list. Our teachers Mrs. Cestnik and Mrs. Longhurst bought the most popular herbs, soil, rocks, and also managed to buy our large metal planter from Facebook Market place.
When we had the dimensions of the planter, we did some calculations to determine how much soil we would need to purchase it order to fill it. We bought about twenty 25L bags of soil to fill up the large planter and our calculations were almost accurate because we used all but one! We also got some 15lb bags of small pebbles and rocks for the base of the container to assist with drainage. We planted the herbs and now we are tending to them daily to maintain a healthy garden that will thrive throughout the summer! Once the herbs are stable and thriving, we will invite the community to come and harvest them as needed and also help take care of the planter over the summer.
Our multicultural herb garden helps with sustainability and climate change for many reasons. To begin with, we bought a second hand horse trough from Facebook Marketplace for the garden keeping the large metal item out of a landfill and repurposed it for our needs. Herbs and gardening can help us to boost energy and motivation. It also allows us to reduce our carbon footprint, as things we consume regularly we don’t need to travel far to get to (like at a store). We know that plants generate oxygen through a process called photosynthesis, in which they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to eliminate water and oxygen, and keep our air clean, healthy and fresh. We are also creating organic soil by using our new electric composter – LOMI – to break down natural compositing substances and turning it into fertile soil. This process only takes 5-7 hours to turn it into soil, not several weeks or months like the regular composting process! And it’s effortless for us – we add the materials to the Lomi, turn it on at the start of our school day, and by the end-of-day-bell, we have fresh, organic soil to use right away! We do this a couple times a week, and add the fertile soil to our planter to enrich the growing herbs. Lastly, by growing our own garden, we can help protect insects and birds who use things like gardens to survive (e.g., bees and worms). We hope that our planter will be the first of many planters around our school to support our environment and build our community connection!
Reflection & Celebration
The students are keen to water and monitor progress on a daily basis. Once the herbs are ready to harvest, the community will be invited to come! Our next step is to perhaps ask families to send in recipes that use these herbs to create a cookbook, as a fundraiser for buying additional planters!