Our Food Garden

 

Blake's Food GardenThe Blake School Food Garden project was established in 2011 in partnership with South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) to address issues of food, health and the environment. The garden provides opportunities for curriculum-linked activities, and student, family and community engagement. An essential part of forming the garden was the Garden Committee, consisting of teachers, parents, the School Garden Educator, and social workers from SRCHC. Students and their families were involved in voting on a design for the garden, with some classes taking the opportunity to hold class debates on the topic. During our Dig Week in the spring of 2011, all classes took part in measuring, digging and preparing the garden beds. In the spring of 2013, a group of parent volunteers built the wooden garden edges. During the summer months, many parents, children and community members have taken care of the garden by watering, weeding and harvesting.

During the school year, students from JK to Grade 6 take part in a range of garden, food and environmental programming. This is led by the School Garden Educator, whose position was initially funded by grants through SRCHC, and has been maintained with funds from the school and from the parent council. Elin, the School Garden Educator, works with teachers and students to teach about topics such as where our food comes from, composting, biodiversity, insects in the garden, earthworms, seeds and plant life cycles. Students are involved in the garden from seed to harvest – they start seeds, plant seedlings, weed and water. Students also participate in harvesting and cooking, making foods like kale chips, “salad burritos”, kale and oregano pesto, bean dip, and baked potatoes. Students from grades 1-6 also have the opportunity to take part in the Garden Club during the spring and fall gardening seasons, where they help with garden maintenance. The Blake School Food Garden provides fun hands-on learning opportunities for students to learn about food and the environment, as well as a chance for parents and community members to get involved in the school.