by Margo Peill
Longer days, warmer sunshine, melting snow and community seed swaps can only mean one thing: spring certainly is on the way in the Northwest!
It’s around this time of year that local gardeners and growers begin to prepare for the outdoor season, ordering seeds and planning crops to make the most of the upcoming short, but productive growing time. But this season one local school in Terrace is getting ahead of the game!
Mountain View Christian Academy received a Farm to School BC grant in 2017, and have been working hard to increase their growing capacity in their school yard garden. Over the past few seasons the students have been able to grow peas, beans, onions, parsley, lettuce, tomatoes and the student favourite: lemon cucumbers! But this season they are taking their growing season to the next level. Over winter the school purchased a greenhouse and plan to install it in the school yard as soon as the snow melts. This new addition to the school garden will allow students to plant earlier and hopefully even have a harvest of greens and radish before the summer break!
Hazelton Secondary School has also been working over the low-light growing days to use their aeroponic tower garden to grow greens indoors and learn more about healthy food choices, food security and photosynthesis. They are really excited to get their new vermicomposting tower garden up and running this spring! It has been really impressive to watch how they have worked their new tower gardens into life at the school, with Phys Ed classes coming for a snack, science students checking out plant biology and many students and staff stopping by just to soak up some of the bright light illuminating from the food studies classroom!
Beautiful greens growing at Hazelton Secondary School. Photo credit: Hazelton Secondary School
Since the launch of the Northwest hub in January, we have been working hard to connect with communities and schools to understand how we can support existing farm to school projects and how we can enhance the capacity to expand in our region. These connections have lead to a few exciting events happening over the coming months! Toward the end of May, we will be having our first Advisory Committee meetings to discuss some long-term goals and plans for the Farm to School community here in the Northwest. We are also very excited to be hosting a spring celebration and networking event on May 22nd! This will be an awesome opportunity to celebrate the wonderful work that has been happening here in our communities and continue to foster the inspiring region-wide conversations around getting local, healthy food into the bellies of school children.