Red Lake Community Gardens
Our long-term vision is to accomplish the following goals:
*To provide healthy food choices for our school and greater community to promote strong physical and mental health
*To provide leadership and community hour opportunities for students and community members
*To provide an authentic learning environment throughout the school year to all of our community’s elementary school students and high school students
*To incorporate community partnering and outreach opportunities to offer students entrepreneurial opportunities associated with green industries
*To contribute to meeting the Municipality of Red Lake Sustainability Goals, including providing locally sourced food.
We aim to achieve these goals by utilizing the gardens to grow a variety of produce that will be harvested and utilized for activities such as canning and catering opportunities offered by Red Lake District High School (RLDHS) nutrition classes. The project will also involve community outreach, such as providing outdoor garden starter kits to community members, constructing a variety of different bee hotel designs for sale, and partnering with local businesses to initiate a community composting program that will allow us to sustain a high level of production in our gardens.
Bee gardens, vermiculture, production of produce for school use, plant-based products, marketing, integration with student learning opportunities in science, technological studies, and art, video documentaries, medicinal plant gardens, and various authentic writing tasks are all ideas that are currently in progress or have been discussed as ways to integrate secondary school courses into this initiative. In addition, we will be partnering with local elementary schools to offer programs that suit their academic needs. Finally, we aim to collaborate with a variety of community organizations to extend the benefits of this community-based initiative.
The Green Industries class at RLDHS has been involved in converting a vacant parcel of land in our community into a community-based garden. The Municipality of Red Lake approved the use of this location for our initiative and has agreed to provide a regular source of water for the project. Students in the course have been constructing bee hotels, picnic tables, raised bed vegetable gardens, wooden bench seating, vegetable garden markers, rain barrel support tables, poured concrete recognition stones for contributors, vermiculture bins, picket fencing, flowering gardens for bees, a wooden welcome sign, tree and shrub planting, and raspberry gardens. The students have also started over 300 vegetable plants, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, and have also planted potatoes and garlic.
The site of the garden is significant for this initiative because it is within walking distance of RLDHS and will allow for the daily involvement of RLDHS students. We aim to partner with elementary schools and local organizations to provide locally sourced produce such as tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes for our community. We would also like to provide educational opportunities for students through visits and projects related to food sustainability, entrepreneurship, science, and community development.
Reflection & Celebration
Our project has been running for only 24 days at this point. We have made a tremendous amount of progress and are looking forward to the growing and harvesting seasons ahead. Currently we have focused our next school teacher/parent interview night around providing a grand opening of sorts for the gardens and will be providing garden markers, plant sales, perennial plant exchange and a bee hotel sale in order to promote and fundraise for the gardens.