Growing Together…Caring, Capable Citizens in a Changing World!
A Farm to School Grant Story, by Gramma D
We are currently meeting the educational needs of approximately 420 students enrolled from Kindergarten through Grade 7. We are located in a pristine area of Coldstream in the beautiful Okanagan. The location of our school affords us connections to Mackie House, Sovereign Park, Bishop’s Bird Sanctuary, Kal Park and lake, and Coldstream Creek. There are 21 teaching staff, two administrators, an itinerant counselor, a teacher-librarian, school based resource teachers in addition to twelve support staff (clerical, CEA’s, custodian, noon hour and bus supervisors). We work together to ensure that all students are actively engaged in their learning in an environment that facilitates belonging. Our school garden is a big part of students feeling connected to the school.
Thanks to the Farm to School grant Dawn Guenette aka “Gramma D.” has been an amazing mentor for the school, students and Kidston Community for many years. Though it has been difficult to run a full salad bar these past 2 years with covid restrictions she has found other ways to educate students on healthy eating and healthy cooking opportunities including cooking in classes with students and harvesting from the school garden to prepare salads for classes including dandelion salad in the spring.
Thinning carrots feeds a whole class
Aside from the scheduled garden/cooking sessions with classes, oftentimes I hang out in the garden during recess or after school. So many wonderful opportunities arise as curious ones will gather there. On one such noon hour, a group of students and I were thinning a crop of carrots. It was essentially a carrot carpet, as sowing with kids often goes. The seed sowing occasion was quite the spontaneous activity, where a carrot seed head was found by a student. Asking what it was, I affirmed it was carrot seeds. This student went over to the nearest garden bed and sprinkled that one little head of seeds throughout. This was prior to spring break where we hadn’t planted anything yet. “I guess we’re planting carrots”, I said. Since it wouldn’t be watered over spring break we watered well and laid a plastic tablecloth on top (weighed down with rocks.) This worked very well!
Students are always looking for things to eat from the garden so I let them know they could actually eat the thinned carrots. Quite a crop was gathered, when it was asked if we could make a dressing to go with our carrot thinnings. I was good with my timeframe and thankfully so was their teacher. Off to the kitchen we go with three students and our little harvest.
With a few add-ons we found in the fridge we had enough salad to share with their entire class. Another bonus among the many in this session, the students who had the idea for making a dressing took home a little container to share with her parents; love it when kids want to share with family. Invaluable experiences such as this could not happen without ‘community’ support. Because of the support we have received from Farm to School, we have opportunities like this. It takes time and commitment to build this culture and without Farm to School funding we would not be where we are today.
Aka Gramma D
Seed to Plate Lead