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High Level Connects Classroom and Community Garden October 28, 2010

Posted by gfsa in Community Stories, Countdown to P2S.
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“Strawberries, watermelon, carrots, peas, brussel sprouts, corn…”  “Wait, did you say brussel sprouts?!”  This was the scene when we asked a class of kindergarten students what their favourite fruit or vegetable was in one of the first classroom presentations we did about gardening and food security. 

The former Northern Lights Health Region developed a classroom program, targeted at kindergarten and grade 4 classes, that blossomed from the struggles with our community garden.  It was mutually beneficial education aimed at increasing awareness and involvement in the community garden, connecting kids with the earth and teaching them about where their food comes from. 

After the first year of starting our community garden we realized that we needed to do more to increase awareness of and participation in the garden.  This led to the development of lesson plans for kindergarten and grade four classes about eating healthy and gardening.  These interactive classroom presentations highlighted the value of gardening, eating healthy and food security; at the end of the class the students planted a seed (bean, pea or tomato).  They cared for their seeds for 6 weeks, once the plants had gotten big enough, the classes then took a walking field trip to our garden to transplant their vegetables and were invited to bring their families to the garden at any time to check on the progress of their vegetables, help with the garden and take home some fresh vegetables. 

We also held a classroom contest to name our garden and design a sign for it.  The winning submission named the garden “Same Soil Community Garden” and designed a vibrant, eye catching sign.  The winning class won an indoor grow kit, complete with soil, seeds, planters, self watering system, and heat lamp.  They grew some tomatoes, peppers and herbs that they delivered to the community garden before they left for the school year.

While the classroom presentations and activities did not entirely meet the objective of attracting more participation in the Same Soil Community Garden, it did invoke some very interesting conversation and left a lasting impression.  I still occasionally get “you’re the garden lady” when a student who I presented to sees me in public!  If you would like information on our lesson plans please feel free to contact me at 780-841-3321.  

Submitted by: Carrie Demkiw, Health Promotion Liaison, Alberta Health Services, High Level, Alberta

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