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NutrientS for Life LEARNING GARDEN Initiative

Nutrients for Life (NFL) believes that gardens, when used as teaching tools, provide students with authentic, first-hand learning experiences about the valuable role nutrients play in food production,health, and sustainability. 

 

In 2013, Nutrients for Life partnered with Green Manitoba to pilot the Nutrients for Life Learning Garden Initiative.  The program sponsored the creation and expansion of ten gardens in schools across Manitoba. Due to the success of the initiative, NFL Learning Gardens are now being rolled out nation-wide.  Green Manitoba serves as the Manitoba Hub and provides coordination, develops and shares learning resources, and tracks the successes of the participating schools in Manitoba. 

 

There are two programs under the NFL Learning Garden Initiative – the Learning Garden Program ($3000 over two years) and School Garden Program ($500 one-time payment).

 

Education is at the roots of understanding the living world around us.  A Learning Garden at your school can help students explore and experiences the science behind food production.

 

Benefits to Students

Students receive countless benefits from digging in the soil, nurturing seedlings, watching their garden grow, and harvesting their crop.  Nutrients for Life Gardens are vital learning environments that allow students to:

  • Engage in hands-on learning about issues such as nutrients, soil science, food production, and lifecycles;
  • Get outdoors and engage in physical activity;
  • Learn about nutrition, health, and food security;
  • Build environmental knowledge and stewardship skills; and,
  • Foster collaboration, teamwork, and leadership in the community.

Benefits to Teachers

From an educator’s perspective, Nutrients for Life Learning Gardens provide a unique, action-oriented learning experience, allowing them to turn their school yards into outdoor classrooms. A wide array of issues can be addressed when engaging in gardening - topics ranging from plant biology to food sustainability. Used as an apparatus for learning, gardens can bring together many disciplines, such as science, math, language arts, social sciences, and art.

 

To help inspire the development of creative, hands-on lessons and activities, Nutrients for Life and Green Manitoba have created resource materials, lesson plans, and activity ideas. Teachers from participating schools are also eligible for teacher training, including receiving pedagogical assistance and professional development training from NFL Educational Coordinators.

 

Benefits to Schools

Schools selected to be a part of the Nutrients for Life Learning Garden Initiative will:

  • Receive funding to help them to develop a garden or expand an existing one;
  • Become a part of the NFL Learning Garden Network, putting them in contact with other NFL Schools across Canada, allowing them to share their experiences and benefit from the advice of others; and
  • Strengthen their connection with the community through sharing in the planning process, garden maintenance, and harvesting activities. 

Click here to find out how to join the NFL Learning Garden Initiative.