The O.V. Jewitt Garden Club


Our vision for Canada is that students and community members within our school’s neighbourhood will have access to meaningful, hands-on, yearlong opportunities to learn about sustainability and wellness by focusing on our relationship to food. Our project focuses on food security, providing students and families with access to nutritious and culturally relevant food, and connecting students with the seeding, growing, planting, and harvesting process. Our vision is for students to participate in sustainable action that develops their passions and brings joy, develops community, promotes wellness, and addresses the food needs in our community.


Our project is ongoing and is unfolding within three phases under the leadership and care of our grade 7 and 8 students and supporting teachers in the “O.V. Jewitt Garden Club.” Phase One included planning and taking action, Phase Two is our Community Plant Giveaway on May 24th, and Phase Three is the continuation of the Garden Club and the development of student-led and student-inspired indoor growing projects for the future.

As part of Phase One, students who attended the LSF Climate Action Summit met regularly to share ideas and develop their vision. From these meetings, students decided to work together to host a “Plant Giveaway” in May of 2023 with the goals of providing students with hands-on garden experience and opportunities to connect with where their food comes from and providing families in our community with free access to garden plants including vegetables and flowers. As many families in our communities live in apartments, students were involved in selecting plants that families could grow in the spaces they have, including on windowsills, balconies, and in their gardens. Based on the student’s interests and what they felt families would enjoy, they decided on growing “Tiny Tim” tomatoes, shishito peppers, basil, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, and calendula. Using an unused portable classroom for our growing space, the Garden Club group met on a regular basis to care for the plants, plan out the next steps, assemble shelves, complete more rounds of planting, and make plant fact cards for the Plant Giveaway. As the Garden Club gained momentum, each week, more students came to help, resulting in a total of 20 enthusiastic grade 7 and 8 students who came consistently to learn and lend a hand. The portable also became a learning space and was made available to kindergarten to grade 8 classes to come and learn about plant care, water, and the process of growing food.

Phase Two involves our Plant Giveaway, which takes place on May 24th alongside our school’s Celebration of Learning. This will provide students with an opportunity to share what they have learned through this project with families and community members and take part in gifting the plants they have grown to families. Alongside each plant, community members will also receive a hand-made card with plant facts, growing instructions, and art created by members of the Garden Club.

Phase Three involves developing projects with and alongside students for next year. As Winnipeg has a short growing season, the investment in grow lights and growing materials allows students to experience and enjoy planting, nurturing, and harvesting vegetables and herbs year-round. In discussions with students, many are already excited about joining the Garden Club and the possibility of creating a salad bar, exploring growing microgreens, collaborating with our school’s breakfast program, and experimenting with growing their favourite vegetables indoors. Through this project, younger students who have been mentored by our passionate grade 7 and 8 students in the Garden Club will have the opportunity to carry on the growing project, take positive actions toward climate change, and develop new passions and interests that address climate change in hopeful and meaningful ways.

Reflection & Celebration

While our project is far from complete, the Garden Club project at O. V. Jewitt has continued to have a powerful school-wide and community-wide impact. As we are a kindergarten to grade 8 school, the Garden Club students wanted the project to involve mentoring the early-year students by teaching them about climate change and sustainable action and involving them in the planting process. This resulted in over 130 grade 1 to grade 8 students working together to plant seeds for our community Plant Giveaway under the care and leadership of grade 7 and 8 students and supporting teachers. Another aspect of sustainability that Garden Club students wanted to include in the project was the up-cycling component which resulted in the club reusing over 250 coffee cups, containers, and bottles which were used for planting and watering the plants. As one club member was particularly passionate about climate change education, he was invited to speak to grade 1 and 2 students about the broad impacts of climate change and ways that they could take action.

The O.V. Jewitt Garden Club project, developed by a team of passionate grade 7 and 8 students, addresses the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: “Zero Hunger,” which aims to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture,” and “Good Health and Wellbeing,” which “ensure(s) healthy lives and promote(s) well-being for all at all ages.” While this project initially started as a “Plant Giveaway,” this action has developed a ripple effect throughout the school community that has extended to our neighbours and community members by providing access to nutritious food. This project has provided a foundation for future rich learning experiences that provide students with hopeful and tangible ways that they can care for themselves and their communities through the simple, powerful, and joy-filled act of growing food. While this project was started by grade 7 and 8 students, some of who are moving on to high school, it is now being passed down to future middle years students and will result in the continuation of student-led and student-inspired actions that will continue to build toward a more sustainable future within our O.V. Jewitt community and neighbourhood.

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