St Theresa Point School Food Garden
Our school plans to start a school food garden with the objective of supporting the school lunch program and teaching life skills to the youth to alleviate food insecurity in our community. We will devote a patch of land on the school premises, preferably the area near the parking lot, where there is ample sunshine throughout the year and no building structures or hindrances to obstruct sunlight.
We intend to plant heritage plants (that grow well in the northern cold climates), use un-treated seeds and non-pressure treated wood for raised beds in our garden. In consultation with our community members and school kids, we have decided to grow – strawberries and raspberries, broccoli, lettuce, radish, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers and herbs like mint, lemon balm and sage.
The proposed project seeks to empower the youth with aboriginal gardening techniques to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for them in their later life. The school garden will involve students, teachers, parents and community members in this project, with community elders providing mentorship to the new hands and train them in gardening skills. We will take this project forward with the support of the principal and the school board.
The school will appoint a school garden coordinator (one of the staff members with gardening knowledge and experience) to act as an interface between the garden and the garden committee (comprising of the school Principal, representatives of the school board, teachers, students, community and parent volunteers, and experts). They will closely monitor the garden and ensure that essential time-specific activities like seed planting, mulching, fertilization, pest control, thinking, watering, weeding, harvesting, etc are all carried out on time. A research scholar from the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba (Aruna Murthy), with the assistance of the Food Security Coordinator of Four Arrows Regional Health Authority (Byron Beardy), will monitor and assist the teachers and the school garden coordinator in promoting the food garden.
The harvested food from the school food garden will not only be used for the school lunch program, but also distributed among needy community members (households with sick people, children and single mothers) and if the garden produce is in surplus, it will also be used for hosting a school feast for the entire community on the eve of thanksgiving.