Students love anything dirty, messy and outdoors, according to Jenn Bennett. “So what more can you ask for then a school garden project,” exclaims the learning centre teacher from Halifax West High School.
But there’s plenty more than seeds rooting beneath the soil of the students’ raised-bed, low maintenance gardens.
“A lot of students these days don’t know where their food comes from besides what they see in the grocery store … so it’s really great to know that they can be in charge and take ownership of the process involved in making some of the food they consume,” says Bennett. She says there’s also a lot of learning to be thrown in. “As far as measurements and weather systems, food, nutrition and even art … oodles and oodles of stuff you can hide in there!”
Over at CP Allen High School, students are preparing a garden of their own. “Right now they’re measuring and doing some science. They’re measuring every 12 inches and plotting out squares for each vegetable,” says Jill White, the HRSB school nutritionist, as she watches the learning centre students digging and planting amid an early June mist.
“The garden gives a great opportunity for teaching that food comes from the ground, not a package. But it also builds independence and self-confidence,” says White.
These two high schools are among 32 schools awarded grants for gardening this year. “We supported schools with close to $20,000 in garden grants through the Department of Health and Wellness,” says White.
Emanuel has created a Google Calendar for anyone interested in volunteering. For more info or to volunteer email: firstname.lastname@example.org