At the Wells-Barkerville Elementary School we are very excited and proud of our new School Greenhouse which we were able to build with the funding from Farm to School BC last summer. The Wells Community Garden has partnered with the School in previous years to grow potatoes (amoung other crops) at the Community Garden which was always a big hit with the kids. We are thrilled that now we have the capacity to grow our own produce right in our backyard, quite literally!
The students are very engaged in the garden and share our pride in our home grown produce. This year we are again fortunate to receive some funding through Partners For Healthier Communities in order to expand upon our original project and include outdoor raised beds at the Greenhouse site.
Our main challenge here in Wells is a very short growing season, hence the need for the greenhouse. We also struggle with a shortage of qualified contractors in the area and due to both of these circumstances we had a very late start with our Greenhouse last year. However, we were able to plant and grow most of our seedlings which flourished into healthy tomatoes which we were able to bring back into the classroom to watch them ripen and pick straight from the vine.
Our Farm To School Greenhouse Project has made a positive impact on our school by empowering the students to really think about and understand where our food comes from and experience the magic of planting, growing and enjoying the ‘fruits’ of their labour. Many of the students do not have access to a gardening space at home and this project has given them an opportunity to begin what we hope will be a life-long love of gardening and healthy food choices.
We have formed partnerships with volunteers from the Wells Community Garden and the wider community and the students are actively engaged in the process. We have 13 students at the school this year from Grade one to seven and we will be implementing a ‘Garden Club’ for the summer months in order to keep the students engaged and invested in their crops. Last year we were successful in a large crop of tomatoes that were used for various purposes and this year we aim to expand our crops for more variety and quantity of produce.
We are so grateful for the experience of gardening with the students thanks to this wonderful grant opportunity!