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

Speed skating a family affair for View Royal twins

Kieran and Kyle Brown set to compete in B.C. Winter Games

Belmont Student Voices: Influential teachers, good or bad, play a crucial role

Chances are you’ve had an influential teacher at some point in your… Continue reading

Hatley Castle 8K takes place this Sunday

Royal Roads race is the fourth in the Vancouver Island Race Series

Grade 11 student gains leadership experience in 4-H club raising goats

Mira Finkelstein enjoys spending time mentoring younger members of the club.

Watch for high winds today and tomorrow

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria. According to Environment… Continue reading

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Reports of money laundering in B.C. real estate ‘troubling’: attorney general

News report alleges people connected to fentanyl trade are using B.C. real estate to launder money

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals for Canada, and men’s hockey loss

Team Canada shines on the speed skating track, but fall short against the Czechs in hockey

Air ambulance used parking lot for patient transfer because it was most efficient option

Lack of certification for helipad at Comox Valley Hospital not a factor in decision

Letter: West Shore needs vested interest to achieve rapid transit

Mayor Stew Young is at odds with the CRD board over its… Continue reading

RCMP member challenges court to prevent further disciplinary action

RCMP member launches appeal to avoid new hearing over alleged harassment

Port of Vancouver program examines impact of marine noise on local whales

Man-made noises can interfere with orcas’ ability to hunt and communicate with other pod members

Most Read