Westshore Centre for Learning student Josh Hill (right) and a member of the Western Garden Club help themselves to a lunch of pumpkin and apple soup, mixed greens, croutons and pumpkin pie at the school’s campus in Colwood Thursday. The students grew and harvested everything in the meal in the community garden. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

School garden teaching students value of outdoor activity

Students, local club enjoyed fruits of labour during special lunch

The smell of fresh pumpkin and apple soup wafted through the halls of the Westshore Centre for Learning’s Colwood campus on a cold afternoon last week.

Students, faculty and members of the Western Garden Club sat down to enjoy a lunch of soup, mixed greens with shredded carrots, croutons, pumpkin pie and tea. But it wasn’t any ordinary lunch – all the ingredients were picked from the school’s community garden, which the students helped grow and prepare in the kitchen.

As part of the school’s sustainable resources class, which runs from February to June and gives students a Grade 11 science credit, students learn how to plant and nurture seedlings, transplant, weed out and harvest in the roughly, 4,000-square foot garden on Sooke Road. Students had their own grow boxes and planted a variety of tomatoes, lettuces, cabbages, raspberries, carrots, beets, herbs, apples, squash and onions.

While other schools have gardens, Jennifer Freeman of Zero Mile Solutions who helps support the development of the garden, said this one is unique in that gardening is integrated into the curriculum.

“A lot of gardens at high schools are an add or it’s maybe a demonstration garden. But this is really from beginning to end part of the kids’ class curriculum. It’s a really great, unique resource,” she said.

“A lot of people today don’t have to grow a garden anymore, so they’re not getting that really valuable hands-on experience that’s really healing and very helpful. They’re [students] experiencing that. It’s a different form of outdoor activity, like what sports can give to people or going out for a walk.”

The garden has been happening in various capacities on the property for the last 12 years, however, this year the school was able to add a greenhouse, thanks to funding from the Horner Foundation, that supports not-for-profit organizations to foster positive youth development.

Freeman has received lots of positive feedback from students who say being in the garden has made them more self-aware. They realize they’re playing too many video games or instead of going to the smoke pit during break, will go and tend to their garden.

Grade 11 student Josh Hill enjoyed learning about the environment and the world and community around him, and now has plans to pursue a career as a horticulturalist.

“I really liked the class, it’s really fun to learn how to grow plants and food that you can eat,” he said, adding he grew tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli and flowers. “You have so much fun and time just flies.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

City of Colwood considers plastic bag ban

Bylaw must be brought forward for public input before adoption

West Shore RCMP catch thieves in the act in Colwood

Thieves were trying to steal a utility trailer from the driveway of a home

Premier asks for re-do on Highway 14 study

A study on Highway 14 improvement has been delayed for a second… Continue reading

Recent calls prompt warning from Langford Fire Rescue

Heating sources are one of the leading causes of house fires

Development a risk to Garry oak woodlands: neighbour

Foul Bay Road development heads to public hearing

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

Recent immigrants make up almost half of impoverished B.C. children

A report issued Tuesday indicates immigrants children make up a large percentage of B.C.’s impoverished

LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

“These are all the organizations that perpetrated past discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”

Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

B.C. mining company stakes claim in Australia

Copper Mountain is set to purchase Cloncurry Copper Project in a $93-million deal.

Developers to put 25,000 cubic metres of Esquimalt fill into Cordova Bay site

Cordova Bay’s Trio site development still awaiting redesign

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Running back propels Spectrum Thunder into first Subway Bowl final

Brandon Robbins scores hat trick of touchdowns

Most Read