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Gardening Programs

Students Involvement

 

Students are responsible for a variety of activities, from tending and harvesting the vegetables to filling out applications for additional funding. At two of the high schools, Virden Collegiate (MB) and RB Russell Vocational School (MB), students mentored the children from a local elementary school, teaching the younger students about gardening and soil nutrients. Most students engaged in activities such as:

  • Planning the garden – studying pollinators, seeds, bulbs, etc.
  • Germinating seeds, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting
  • Monitoring plant growth
  • Building self-watering planters, greenhouses, raised beds, pop-bottle germinators
  • Soil testing and nutrient application
  • Preparing food for harvest/fall celebrations

Lessons and Classes

For most of the schools, gardens served as a teaching tool and were incorporated into subjects such as science, health, math, agriculture, home economics, and foods and nutrition.  Examples of specific lessons include:

  • Seeds and bulbs
  • Gardening
  • Pollinators/butterflies (nectar selection)
  • Nutrient testing (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium)
  • Pop bottle greenhouse experiment
  • Composting
  • Math (e.g. measuring dimensions for building  beds)

 

Types of Events

 

There were 33 events held by Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia schools, ranging from school lunches in June to community harvest fairs and feasts planned for the fall.  Some of these events included:

  • Harvest events (involved students and often the community)
  • End of school BBQs
  • Greenhouse sales of flowers and/or produce
  • Snacks (e.g., Snack Day, student led conferences snack)
  • Planning meeting
  • Information nights
  • Annual conferences - showcased school garden
  • Plant giveaways/take-home for students, staff and community members
  • “Weeding Wednesdays”
  • Sustainable Gardening Workshop
  • Assembly showcasing garden activities and produce (e.g., flowers used for decoration)
  • Fall fair fundraiser
  • Open house

Community Involvement

 

Community engagement was a key element of the gardening activities at many of the schools. For example, Goulter School has made plans for a medicine wheel garden and they are asking for advice and guidance from the aboriginal community. At Ashern Central School the students planted flowers for the seniors in the care homes in the community and shared in a picnic made by the seniors as thanks. Some of the schools have held sales to fundraise for their gardens, such as Shamrock School, which had a plant sale, and Janeville School, which is planning on holding a salsa sale in the fall. Several schools have volunteers who work in the garden and help with the harvest. Manitoba Learning Gardens reported involving 34 members of the community in their gardening programs.  Community members and volunteers have also been invited to the many harvest events to celebrate the accomplishments of the students over the past year.

 

Communication and Promotion

 

Some schools have chosen to take to social media to promote their garden and connect with volunteers in the community through twitter, Facebook or entire websites devoted to the garden. Others have advertised events using yard signs or made announcements over the PA system.  Schools described created video clips and websites, and one noted that they had at least two newspaper articles written about their garden.