George Knott School Gardening Program
We want to use the school as a platform to impart food production skills to our students and community members. We want to establish a school garden with the help of teachers, students and community members, especially by involving the elders in our community, who have rich gardening experience. Although the garden will be established on the school garden, it will be a common learning ground for the entire community. The school garden will function as an open laboratory and provide hands-on training in gardening to students and interested community members.
Initially, we want to start gardening on a small area adjoining the school playground, and create rectangular raised beds. Later, we will devote the area further east to greenhouses and composting sheds. Although the entire community will get a say in deciding what is to be cultivated in the garden, we will mainly stick to the preferences of our students. They will be provided with a list of plants that grow well in the northern conditions and asked to state their preferences.
Since all our teachers are overburdened we would need to appoint a gardening coordinator to take care of the day-to-day needs of the garden and ensure that all the gardening activities are carried out at the scheduled time. This is important, because delayed planting, watering, weeding or pest control can result in poor plant growth. This project will be taken forward with the help of Mr. Byron Beardy, Food Security Coordinator, Four Arrows Regional Health Authority and Ms. Anaparti Aruna, graduate student, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba. They will help with the program implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as provide assistance to the gardening coordinator to make this program a success.
A portion of the fruits and vegetables harvested from the school garden will be equally distributed among the students. Another portion will be set aside for free distribution to the needy community members.