We are very pleased to announce that the funding received by us on behalf of gardens at Sprucecourt PS and Rose Ave. PS was well spent this year. Over 800 people were directly served by this grant, in meaningful ways that promote urban agriculture, healthy eating, and learning about our environment.
Rose Ave. PS
At Rose Ave. PS, a new garden bed was built that is now in process of becoming a Hugelkultur bed. A Huge Wha-a-a-t? you ask? Hugelkultur uses wood, massive amounts, in a garden bed. What happens is that the wood fibers break down into cellulose, a porous mass that holds enormous amounts of water, and releases it to plant roots as they need it, watering from below. Water conservation methods like this are going to be more and more important as climate change causes unpredictability in supply of rainwater and even municipal water systems. In the first photo below, a Grade 6 team is filling the bed with topsoil, following a layer of fresh manure on top of the logs. In the next photo you can see the logs, and the lovely decorating done with kindergarteners, with the help of the Branksome Hall Service Learning team.
At Sprucecourt PS, a whole Grade 7 class is engaged with the school composting project, learning all about the science and art of well-planned rot. They’ve even taken responsibility for training the younger students! And thanks to teachers David Cunningham and Liz Bristoll, students are blogging about their experiences in the garden and weaving literacy and numeracy projects into their food focus. Students also mapped and drew the garden, to support all of the classes to use the garden with a map and calendar of activities.
Throughout the summer, Green Thumbs held weekly drop-ins at both schools that nourished whole families with garden produce and recipe-sharing, and ran day camp programs in the gardens. Over four hundred people joined in the summer garden drop ins and daytime programs in the two schools. In September and October, 400 students between Kindergarten and Grade 7 visited their school gardens at Rose Ave. PS and Sprucecourt PS, and carried out harvesting, fall planting, composting and building activities. The garden programs were supervised by Green Thumbs Growing Kids’ Garden Educator Extraordinaire Kryslyn Mohan, with the able support of many volunteers. Ten secondary school youth came for a four-day service learning project and worked with teachers and students in the gardens, supervised by Green Thumbs.
Thanks to Whole Kids Foundation for this enabling grant!