Tillicum Legacy Garden


Our vision was to create a sustainable native food garden and provide stewardship opportunities for our students.


Our action project was to build a native plant legacy garden. My class initiated this project after participating in an inquiry project about native food plants of the Lewungan speaking peoples, Songhees and Esquimalt Nations of what is now know as Victoria. My students wanted to first know about what traditional foods would have been on the site of our school. We discovered Kwetlal, or Camus was a staple food of these Coast Salish people. As we researched, the students began to discover other traditional foods such as salmon berry, Eilie, and many others. This is how the idea of a native food garden came about.

The next step of our project was obtaining permission for a garden, a step that was harder than we anticipated. We scaled down our original plan and were given permission to use a small area between the parking lot and the street. We were excited to use this area because we had seen a native June plum already growing and knew the spot was going to be perfect. The students mapped out the site and measured. Next was to remove the non native grass. We dug, pulled and weeded out the area as best we could before planting our Kwetlal. Although the Camus was setting buds when we planted the bulbs, it quickly went dormant after planting. We have added salmon berry, licorice fern, flowering currant, and have evergreen huckleberry as well. Native plants have provided food for 1000’s of years to the Coast Salish people of our land and we believe that by “rewilding” areas in the community such as our school will improve the sustainability of our area. We feel more connected to the land, our place and can better understand the traditional stories we read about food plants. As a legacy garden, our students will be the caretakers of this space their whole time at our school and beyond. Additionally, as interest has grown throughout the year with other classes who want to participate, we will continue to expand the size of the garden each year. Our native plant garden will grow and mature as the years go by. Community elders were also excited by our involvement and connection to the land. We hope that the idea spreads beyond the school fence and more families continue the idea at their homes.

Reflection & Celebration

On June 21, National Indigenous People’s Day, our garden was opened for the school. We drummed in the garden to thank the ancestors and read the story “Be a Good Ancestor” to honour the land.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
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