Wow we can’t believe 3 years has passed already. Our students have learned so much. We are really grateful to have been a part of this program. Our biggest take away is that it really does take a village to create a healthy environment for our children. We have been blessed to have massive support from Pine Ridge Farm. They have not only shared their Farm with the students through field trips two years in a row, but have donated a generous amount of funding. We are choosing to build a green house next year. It was a real eye opener for lots of the young students on where food comes from and all the work that has to be done before we get to eat it.
It has been really great seeing how the kids built their plots. Some of it was completely crafted by them and it was so cute. Of course the favorites among the students were strawberries and peas. They were also the easiest for the younger classes to tend to. It was great to see the students create something that others can enjoy too. We even added painted rocks to add some color and creativity. We had a grade 6 class really involved in helping with the garden. It was nice to see some of the older classes step up this year.
It has taken its ups and downs to see what works and what doesn’t. Some veggies were worth us growing more of and others not so much. We have enjoyed using what we can for our hot lunches. The benefit of going out to the garden which our students grew was a beautiful reward. It will be nice over the next few years to really learn what is needed to provide for our school on a larger scale right from our own garden. The next task at hand for us it to have the students have a little more responsibility for the maintenance around the garden area. Simple things like keeping the weeds away. We may want to consider some gravel or mulch to keep the mud away when it is really wet out. This I suppose has been our biggest challenge this year was who is going to keep up with the maintenance; like mowing the grass. Due to the colder weather we had a later start to our garden; however some things did manage to thrive during the colder months. We would like to see a little more winter veggies grow next season.
The parents of the school garden committee stayed connected through a private Facebook group. We all took turns weeding in between the students, and during the summer months. We even had a pizza party to get the garden back on its feet after a long wet and cold winter. It really does take more than a couple people to make this happen over a few years. The community of people makes it so much easier, and the networking for everyone involved for further relationships. It was surprising how many people really just wanted to help make this possible for the kids! Programs like this are such a great way to create change in the school and the health. We look forward to further participation from the teachers and students. A garden club for some students during recess and lunch just may be in the works to help those who feel passionate about growing it further.