6 Great School Garden Examples to Inspire Your Own
One of the best ways to introduce outdoor learning experiences for kids in your own community is through a school gardening program. In addition to developing horticultural knowledge and skills and providing a sustainable food resource, there are numerous benefits for children. Participants learn patience, teamwork, problem solving, and develop social skills while gaining confidence and a strong sense of self-worth. And of course, it’s great to get the kids outdoors and away from digital screens every once and awhile!
Our Foundation has provided a wealth of resources for those of you who are thinking about starting a school garden in your community, including this guide on how to start the project. However, there’s nothing quite like seeing local success stories in action, which is why we are providing you with a look at some amazing initiatives across Canada, along with a quick peek at what makes each unique so that they may inspire you to start one of your own.
6 School Garden Projects That May Serve as a Model for One (or More) in Your Community
École élémentaire Catholique Ste-Marguerite-Bourgeoys, Woodstock, ON
Together with some amazing sponsors (view them all here) our Foundation is honored to help fund this initiative in Woodstock, Ontario. To account for the concerns of climate change and subsequent limits on water supply, the school garden has instituted the use of rain barrels, one of the top water conservation initiatives being employed by urban farming initiatives all over the world. The success of the garden to date has called for expansion, including an indoor garden system known as a Tower Garden, which is a vertical, aeroponic growing system that will be used to grow leafy greens through all four seasons. Learn more about this school gardening project here.
École Peter Greer Elementary Outdoor Garden, Lake Country, BC
Another one of our Foundation’s funded school garden programs is found in the Okanagan Valley. What made this one so special, is that students were brought in for every step of the process. They were the decision makers! They scouted locations, developed blueprints, and sought valuable feedback from their peers. Watching them get so excited and invested in the process was beyond heartwarming, instilling confidence that our future is in good hands. Like with the École élémentaire Catholique Ste-Marguerite-Bourgeoys program, a Garden Tower has been established to grow leafy greens indoors through the Okanagan’s winter months. Learn more about the Lake Country, BC’s school gardening project here.
Port Weller Public School, St. Catharines, Ontario
Location, location, location really sets this one apart, with the school garden located right along the Welland Canal, a major thoroughfare of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Together with The Peanut Mill Natural Foods Market and Creek Shore Farms our Foundation was honored to help fund and get involved in this project. However, once again the students were the ones who really took the reigns right from the get-go. They took responsibility for measuring and cutting lumber, constructing planting boxes, planting, harvesting, and everything in between. Further cementing this project as a sustainable community initiative, local St. Catharines families “adopted” the garden for weeding, watering, harvesting, and more. Learn all about this Niagara area student garden here.
Westmont Montessori School, Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC
Unlike many school garden programs that seek to introduce nature into an urban environment, Westmont Montessori School, which is tucked into the lush Metchosin community of Vancouver Island, is no stranger to nature’s bounty. Still, this has done nothing to stifle the student population’s enthusiasm for this Foundation funded outdoor learning initiative. One outstanding feature of the school garden, is the teaching shelter, which provides teachers and students alike with a place to gather within the garden to exchange dialogue about math, science and horticultural concepts of growing, harvesting, and more, even on rainy days! Learn more about this sheltered school garden here.
Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden, North Vancouver, BC
This one hold’s a special place in our heart as it was the very first Foundation funded school garden project. Spearheaded by the North Shore Neighbourhood House’s Edible Garden Project this initiative stands out by bringing sustainable local economics into the fold. Harvested crops are sold at a local farmers’ market, with revenue from produce sales helping a full-time farmer sustain a living while covering the costs of operating the school/market garden. Students get to learn about the entire seed-to-table concept at the Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden and we would not be surprised if it sprouted future farmers in the process! View more about this important program here.
Forest Grove Elementary Project, Burnaby, BC
Courtesy of Sprouting Chefs Society
Sprouting Chefs Society, under the guidance of Founder Barb McMahon, takes the school gardening concept a giant leap further at Forest Grove Elementary (and Windsor and Lochdale Elementary schools). In addition to providing students with seed classes (supported by our Foundation) and getting them “hands-on” involved in the gardening/farming lifecycle, the initiative also introduces cooking programs so that students better understand how to cook nutritious (and delicious) foods in a manner that protects the nutrients they need from the crops. This project puts the kitchen in the middle of the seed to table concept!
Learn more about all of our Foundation’s funded programs and causes. If you have any questions, or would like to find out how you can get involved, contact the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation.