Hi! My name is Nicole and I am one of the Summer Students that started working for the Edible Garden Project midway through May. During the month of May, I have assisted the EGP visiting numerous elementary schools, attending many “Green Celebrations”, and having our weekly farmers markets! At each of our 5 elementary schools, we taught the children about the different pollinators of our environment, with an emphasis on bees. From beetles to butterflies to even bats, pollinators play a vital role in the gardens these children so diligently tended to over the course of the school year. The students really enjoyed learning about bees, so much so that teachers would inform us of how the children were not able to stop talking about pollinators at school the next day. Although they loved learning about bees and the process of pollination, their favourite part by far was tasting the honey produced by the honey bees on our farm! Two of the school gardens we help out with produced Swiss Chard that we transplanted and can now be seen at the back of our farm. In addition to visiting these different school gardens, we also helped out at home! John Braithwaite Youth Garden Club began planting a variety of vegetables and flowers in the garden boxes outside our building. Planted in late May, these veggies will likely be ready to harvest by August.
Throughout May, the EGP has has the privilege of attending various events throughout the North Shore that celebrate the progress of green initiatives in our local schools. The North Vancouver School District held a “Green Celebration” where we heard from a number of speakers who lead different initiatives either in their school or community. Among these speakers was Kate, a high school student from the Windsor Secondary School “Green Team” who spoke about the efforts made by many students of Windsor to clean up the streets in their neighbourhood. It was incredible to hear about how many initiatives this group was a part of, and the differences it made in their community. I think the rest of the Education Team at EGP can agree that it is our hope that by doing garden education and teaching sustainable practices in elementary schools, children can be impacted to carry on these teachings and mentalities into high school, or the broader community. We hope that, like Kate, students will be able to ignite and carry out a myriad of community endeavours that promote sustainability and being a steward to our environment. After this, we also attended the “2019 Spring Celebration: Indigenizing School Food Systems and Pedagogies” event held at Xpey’ Elementary. Here, we learned about the importance of indigenous plants and we were encouraged to promote the growth of indigenous plants in our school gardens. We were shown how many organizations are taking part in green initiatives and the importance of indigenous plants in medicine, history and the culture of the North Shore. This event definitely gave us lots to think about in regards to the future of our school gardens, and we hope to implement some indigenous plants and teachings into our program.
Overall, the month of May was full of schools visits, farm field trips, “Green Celebrations”, and lots of planting! We have also continued to have our Farmers Markets every Wednesday from 2-4pm and every Saturday from 10am-2pm which I had the privilege of working at multiple times this month. It is great to see how much our farm provides for our local community. It is one thing to see all of these fantastic vegetables being grown in your farm every day, but it’s another thing to share that enjoyment with the community around you! I look forward to all the exciting events that June holds and can’t wait to continue sharing garden education with my community!