Too Good to Waste
The vision of this Action Project is to allow our student body and community to be aware of the gains when we work together towards a goal. Throughout this project, we have seen collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and communication, only to name a few. These are key components that we want to instore in our future generation. We need to work together to find solutions and to improve our every day life.
Throughout our Action Project, the students have learned about the benefits of composting through vermicomposting. This action was unheard of to many members of our school, considering students as well as staff members. They have also learned how to grow food through a hydroponics kit. This allowed us to conduct a mini test, which was comparing the rate of growth through hydroponics versus regular seed starting kit that we set up near a well lite windowsill. The students planted the same number and type of seeds in each set up and had a great time observing all the differences. The main inspiration behind getting a hydroponics kit was to get a head start on the garden and produce a better variety of vegetables. Some of the food grown will be given to the culinary class to prepare meals or healthy snack and even vegetable trays for the student body of our school. Some will also be given to the food bank in order to help some of our community members in need. This project has educated our students about the importance and the benefits of growing food at home, as well as the significance and the urgency of lowering their carbon footprint. Our Action Project began with the students completing a forms questionnaire to get a basis on their knowledge regarding growing food as well as vermicomposting. Then, they met with the culinary teacher to get a selection of vegetables and herbs that could be used during the class. They will brainstorm and come up with different recipes and salad dressings that could be made by using mainly or even only the food that we grow. They have conducted research regarding the vegetables and herbs suggested. They also found information concerning the garden regarding which vegetable plant or herb plant can be grown in our conditions (consider time, cost, process, energy, etc.). They were then, able to make the wisest decision for our school community. Finally, they ordered their seeds and begin growing the vegetables and herbs selected. They are responsible for planting, caring for these plants and harvesting the food.
We have schedules as well as checklists to complete in order to be consistent and organized. This allows us, to all be aware of the nurturing of our plants. Needless to say, they had to collaborate while problem solving and coming up with their solutions. They displayed excellent teamwork and critical thinking. Once the weather allows, in the spring, they will transplant the vegetables and herbs outside for the summer months. The extra vegetable plants that will not fit in our garden will be given to our students, hence, Too Good to Waste. This way, the students will be able to grow their own little garden at home. Their families and themselves will be able to profit from all the wonderful benefits of gardening. The students will be asked to take pictures throughout the summer. This way, we will be able to celebrate and share our stories when we get back in September.
We were blessed with amazing help from the shop teacher and his students. They have built and fixed up a few planters for our garden. They are building a climbing wall for our peas. They brought in tomato cages. They are fabulous and eager to help. It is such a great feeling seeing everyone participating and supporting each other. It really does give you the sense of a community project.
Throughout the project, the students will be comparing the price, product, transportation, and efficiency of growing your own food to buying it from the store. Again, all these calculations and data analysis would be a huge eye opener for many of community members, which will allow us all to embrace the responsibility of lowering our carbon footprint. We also loved watching the students learn about vermicomposting. We are not far into the process of composting. Since a process tray requires an average of 90 days to be ready for harvest. As well, as each new feeding tray should be filled in 4-6 weeks. However, the students have displayed great interest in this part of our Action Project. They have made wonderful suggestions and came up with a solid plan. They would love to attach our vermicomposting to the schools recycling program. One class would be selected each week to collect their compost material from their lunches (excluding meat). This would then be fed to the worm compost bins. The students would be responsible to take pictures and create a video about the worms’ progress which would be shared with the student body. The composted soil would be used in our garden.
The students were also looking at expanding our project to adding classroom plants with the soil being provided from the vermicomposting program. They thought it would not only be beautiful and Zen but it would also purify our air quality. We could ask students and members of our community to propagate some of their plants and share their healthy cuttings with our school. This could be another natural science teaching in the making. We would also like to reach out to the community to receive items which can be up-cycled and used in our gardens. We have a few students that really have a good eye in designing posters. They will be leading this part of the project in order to showcase their strength.
Reflection & Celebration
All in all, this Action Project is simply the beginning. We have grown and blossomed together throughout the project. We have so many other ideas and goals. We will continue to work together and learn together as we expand this project to another level. The best is yet to come.