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Building earth blocks and building muscles

Building earth block bed

Building earth block bed

Lots of heavy lifting at GTGK last month! We’ve successfully built one garden earth brick bed at Winchester P.S., two at Rose Ave. P.S. and one at Gabrielle-Roy.  The same students (grades 4, 5, and 7) that got to go to Fifth Wind Construction and see how earth block bricks are made in May were responsible for building them at each of their respectable schools. These building blocks are made out of earth – “structurally sound, and environmentally-friendly”. They look fantastic and not to brag or anything (totally am) but my arms are a bit more buff (I call them dumplings)!

We’ll be building more of these earth block beds with the youth that we hired for the summer with Youth Voices Research Group. July and August are looking to be excellent months and we’re really, really excited to work with the 8 youth hired. They’ll not only be constructing garden beds and building a rainwater harvesting system, but also be assisting in our garden programs, designing new activities, cooking, helping out at community events,  helping with a balcony project, exploring community food security concepts and many other exciting projects. On the YVRG side of things, the youth will be researching and documenting food and health issues in St. James Town through various social media networking means, interviews and other creative outlets like photography. So exciting!

Summer programs will also include visits from community groups and day camps in the school gardens, community drop-in nights, a partnership with Upwards Art for garden art projects, and collaborations with UforChange and other local organizations. Yay summer!


potato planter care

Hilling up potatoes on the last day of school

Recent media coverage for Green Thumbs Growing Kids and school food gardens news:

  1. Sunday Harrison was interviewed by Karen Horsman on Nature Deficit Disorder and school gardens. You can listen to the June 22nd CBC Metro Morning podcast here.

  2. The Bulletin, the local newspaper, also wrote a feature on Green Thumbs in June. Read it here.

  3. Lorraine Johnson, whose book City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing just came out, was interviewed on CIUT‘s Take 5. She talked about the importance of children being involved in gardening and food growing, how important it is for them to touch the soil with their bare hands, and how growing food can be easily linked to the Ontario curriculum (i.e. natural sciences, ecology, math, physical education, etc.). It’s always a good thing when other people advocate for children’s gardening!

  4. School gardeners perform better in the classroom according to a UK study by the Royal Horticultural Society, as published in the Independent newspaper on June 27th.

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