The Green Team
To involve students and community members with developing sustainable practices centered on local food production and waste reduction, as well as addressing and spreading Climate Change Awareness. From the teachings of the Medicine Wheel, everything in our world is connected through natural processes to remain in balance. We as humans are a part of those process and that balance. By developing a composting system, beginning a school garden and growing our own locally sourced fruits and vegetables, we can use these connections to help mitigate climate change, learn about our natural world, and teach others about sustainable practices and locally sourced food.
Our rural, Northwestern Ontario elementary school has a snack program where fresh fruit and vegetables are delivered on a weekly basis. Often times, because our school has a smaller population, these snacks will begin to spoil before all of a shipment can be eaten. Because this creates so much waste that is often thrown in the landfill, the 6/7/8 class at Dorion Public School developed a whole-school composting system to be maintained by The Green Team. In order to effectively compost in our region, we can reduce the number of wildlife visitors to our composter by creating and maintaining a vermicomposter indoors. EcoSuperior partnered with our class about how to vermicompost using red wigglers and layering. To begin our composter, EcoSuperior also donated our first worm family. The Green Team will be responsible for collecting food waste and maintaining the vermicomposter in the school building (moisture, mold, dry/green balance). To supplement our composter, we also partnered with our local coffee shop for donations of coffee grounds. These coffee grounds will be used not only inside the composter, but also to keep away any pests. However, the 6/7/8 class didn’t stop there. The students further discussed the benefits of using compost and developed a plan to create and maintain a school vegetable garden. To begin our school garden, students sorted, labelled and planted various vegetable seeds into biodegradable germinating trays/egg cartons. Some vegetables we planted include: tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, kale, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and lettuce. When the seedlings are large enough, they will be transferred into a container garden (we are unable to build our raised beds due to Covid-19 restrictions). Partnering with our municipal library, the Green Team and other volunteers will weed, water and maintain the garden during the summer months. Come the fall, The Green Team will be responsible for harvesting vegetables, preserving foods and preparing the garden for winter.
Reflection & Celebration
The Green Team has had multiple discussions and meetings in order to plan for the summer and upcoming school year. Our school composter is functioning and the red wiggler population is increasing. With more worms, we will be able to compost larger amounts of food waste which will help to keep more out of landfills and create more compost for our garden. Vegetable and fruit seeds have been planted and seedlings are being cared for by students to be transferred to the garden. Students have commented how planting seeds and caring for a garden is not only benefiting the environment, but also their own mental health and well-being. We are currently making plans for the location of our raised beds and future greenhouse for Fall 2021.