As the days are getting longer, warmer, and sunnier, excitement is in the air and schools are starting to plant their garden. In the Capital Region, there has been a lot of planning from schools and community organizations on how to make this growing season extra special. Read more to learn about how the hub is planting seeds and celebrating the growing season.
The Sprouting of Regional Pro-D Days
At last year’s Farm to School Spring Celebration, a participants said that they need more support in building their skills and confidence to teach in the garden. It was suggested that Professional Development Days could be created both for individual school garden teams and the network as a whole. Fast forward to March 2018, and the region is holding more Pro-D Days than ever.
The photo at the left is of a Pro-D Day held at Reynolds Seconadry School by Lifecycles Project Society’s Growing Schools Program. This new and exciting project of Lifecycles is a series of Professional Development workshops with four schools in School District 61. This unique workshop series focuses on supporting and building school gardens teams in school food gardens as year-round learning grounds that are integrated into classroom curriculum. Over the years, Farm to School BC and other community organizations have found that school gardens are more likely to succeed if there a group of passionate teachers, parents, and students working together to support the garden.
While individual school Pro-D Days help build the school garden team, district wide Pro-D Days help build the network and share the learnings across schools. On Friday, May 18th, the Capital Region Farm to School BC is co-hosting a Professional Development Day open to all schools in SD61, 62, 63 and 64. This day will offer two workshops, one in the garden with Lifecycles Project Society and the other in the kitchen with Chef Andrew Paumier from Indecent Risotto and Growing Young Chefs. Lifeycles is teaching about how to take care of the school garden and integrate it into teaching practices and curriculum, while Chef Andrew Paumier is teaching about how to incorporate local food into dishs and food skills into your classroom using the Whole Kids Foundation demonstration cooking program. A taco lunch bar will be provided by Whole Foods Market and the entire day is free thanks to generous sponsors at Whole Kids Foundation, School District 61, Whole Foods Market, and the Horner Foundation. Click here to register for the event.
Harvest4Knowledge Learning Circle
The Harvest4Knowledge project that brings Indigenous plant and traditional food knowledge into the minds, hearts and bellies of children and youth is starting to take shape. Schools have submitted their program plans, and are ready to begin preparing their soil to start their Indigenous plant gardens.
On March 12th, 2018, we held our first Learning Circle that brought together Harvest4Knowledge teachers to Saanich Native Plant Nursey at Haliburtan Farm, the SENĆOŦEN speaking peoples Territory. The Learning Circle was titled “Čəni̓ŋəɫ”, which translates to “to be planting”. The evening started with a warm welcome from Tiffany śwxeloselwet Joseph and was followed by an overview of the project by Edward Thomas, who is from the Lkwungen-speaking territory that the Harvest4Knowledge projects takes place on. With good food in our bellies, Kristen Miskelly from Saanich Native Plant Nursey and Tiffany śwxeloselwet Joseph shared their extensive knowledge on Indigenous plants, soil preparation. They also discussed the history of Indigenous plants, hunting, and harvesting on South Vancouver Island.
The Learning Circle was made possible through the generous support from School District 61 Aborgional Native Education Department and Sarah Rhude, SD61 Aborgional Arts and Culture Faciliator. As this project grows, we at Farm to School BC are blown away by the amount of excitement, knowledge and sharing that is happening among teachers.
Over the last year, I have personally witnessed the growing interest in farm to school type work. More schools than ever are reaching out to community orgaziations to get support to build their own programs. As always, I am left in awe through my meetings with community organizations desire to collbrate and supports schools. I am also left speechless by the teachers, parents and students who create programsfrom good ideas and aspiration for hands on learning and healthy local food for students.