by Sam Gambling
Happy back to school, F2SVA network! And congratulations on another bountiful fall season!
Thanks to a summer stewardship pilot project led by Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society and Grandview Woodland Food Connection, gardens are flourishing in five East Vancouver schools. Throughout the summer, two students were hired to tend to these five school gardens, keeping them alive and thriving, and ready for a fall use by students and teachers! Huge thanks to gardeners Belle and Ali, and also to the school participants, VSB school district, and funders for making this project possible.
According to one participating school partner, “it felt like Jack and the Beanstalk magic was at work”!
And the magic has only begun! There are a number of projects and activities underway this school year. At nine schools across Vancouver, teachers are preparing their Indigenous Foodscapes garden beds, where native plants will grow and be used as teaching tools to incorporate place-based and Indigenous Education into their classroom curriculum.
Last May, teachers involved in F2SVA’s Indigenous Foodscapes project visited Environmental Youth Alliance’s Native Plant Nursery to learn how to propagate and integrate native plants onto school grounds and into classrooms.
In North Vancouver, a dedicated group of teachers, school district staff and community organization partners came together for the first North Shore School Food Network meeting of the 2018/2019 school year. This network is looking forward to launching projects that will support teachers, parents, and students to engage in healthy school food work.
The North Shore School Food Network consists of teachers, administrators, school district staff, parents, public health dieticians and community partners from across the North Shore.
Fall is grant season! For those who are interested in starting up or expanding your farm to school program specifically in the Vancouver Area Regional Hub, Think & Eat Green @ School grants are available for public schools in the VSB, and applications are due October 24 – learn more here!
In addition to your own Farm to School projects, there are other opportunities to engage with the F2S community across the Vancouver Area:
- Farm to School learning circles provide a physical space for teachers, school staff, parents, students and other school community members to network with others who are passionate about healthy, local school food systems; share stories, resources and ideas for Farm to School programs; collaborate on projects, and more. Learning circles will be launching again in November, so keep your ears open for a learning circle near you or contact me to start one up in your neighbourhood!
- New to school gardening? Don’t miss the professional development Rooted in Place workshop series hosted at UBC Farm.
- For those looking for a field trip opportunity, there are many educational program options at UBC’s botanical garden.
- If you’d like to bring your F2S program (either a school or organization) to the Vancouver Farmers’ Market this winter to collect both food and money donations, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy harvests to all, and see you soon!