Pollinator protection, urban agriculture, and food waste prevention


To engage students with urban agriculture to support environmental sustainability. Students will learn how to grow their own food and preserve excess food to prevent waste. Our second project focuses on supporting native bee populations and tracking healthy populations


The first project focused on building mason bee houses that can be dissembled, the cocoons will be harvested and treated for fungal infections, and parasitic wasps larva will be removed. We did this project because native bee populations have been decreasing due to urbanization, the use of pesticides, and the lack of pollen-producing wildflowers. In the spring, we will be putting the bee houses in all 4 quadrants of the city, all with different ages of development. We will also put out bee houses on a bee farm located east of us, on a farm north of us located beside mass agriculture, downtown, and one near a protected park in the city. In November, we will collect the houses and harvest the cocoons, then log the population of healthy bees vs infected bees in a spreadsheet. After we treat the cocoons, we will store the healthy bees for the winter in the fridge, then release them in spring to their original location, along with the houses.

The second project we tried was preserving. In my agriculture class and gardening club, we learn about food waste and security. The kids did projects on different types of preserving and the science behind preserving. My gardening club took it a step further and came after school to pickle carrots and beans. The week after, we made strawberry and raspberry jam. The kids loved learning about the process, and it was a great experience to see the kids work together to make something for everyone to share. When we were done, the kids asked to do it again and to try more recipes from the book we used. It was a great lesson for the kids to be able to preserve the food we or they grow in their garden.

The last project we did was starting seeds using the different methods of gardening we explored. The students in my agriculture courses designed their own experiments to test different variables that affect basil growth. Some kids tested different lights, others tested different types of soil, and others tested different types of nutrients. We also planted our aquaponic system with strawberries, kale, nasturtium, and tomatoes. We also tried dill, it grew but not in time for our pickles to be made.

The students made a homemade hydroponic system from an old fish tank. We tried planting lettuce and kale, but they did not grow as well as expected. We are going to try starting the seeds outside of the system next time to see if it works better. The kids at least had a great time building it. I tried to let the students lead the projects, even if it meant they might fail. We also used seeds for gardening using an Indigenous perspective. We started plants for three sisters gardening. We will plant those in our outdoor garden this week. We tried winter sowing, but with the lack of snow and rain, nothing has sprouted yet!

The grade 7’s started a variety of plants for the garden. They started broccoli, Brussels sprouts, ground cherries, and cucumbers.

Reflection & Celebration

Bee houses: This was difficult to complete in the classroom, so we had the grade 6’s help when they had CTF in the woodshop. The kids really loved using drills and painting the houses. We are excited to distribute the houses around the city and harvest them in November.

Preserving: The kids loved preserving. After we finished pickling the carrots and beans, the students flipped through the book finding new recipes that they wanted to try next year. They loved the community of processing food together and they enjoyed learning about the science behind pickling and making preserves.

Growing our own food: The kids really enjoyed being able to select what they wanted to put in the garden. We had a little hiccup with the hydroponics we built, it didn’t grow as much as we expected. Next year we will develop a new game plan and try again. The aquaponics worked great, we grew lots of different food like strawberries, kale, nasturtiums, and dill. Today we took the plants we started out to the garden. We mulched with hemp straw, hopefully, that will help retain some moister. The kids learned a lot this year, and many students are excited to join the gardening club and agriculture next year.

2. Zero Hunger
3. Good Health and Well-Being
4. Quality Education
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
13. Climate Action
15. Life on Land
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