Cedar Elementary School Principal Michael Rennie shovels dirt into raised garden beds in front of the school on Sept. 20, 2019. The school transformed a gravel lot into a community garden. Photo by Marissa Tiel/Campbell River Mirror

Community garden offers learning experience for all

Cedar Elementary converts former playground site into community garden

Cedar Elementary School students will be learning more about where their food comes from. The school recently finished building its first community garden, featuring 17 raised beds and a whole lot of delicious produce.

“A garden provides so many different learning opportunities for the kids,” said teacher Stephanie Stromquist. “A lot of the time (they) don’t know where their food comes from and so this opens up that whole conversation.”

Stromquist, a Grade 2/3 teacher at Cedar, spearheaded the project. After the school’s playground moved from the front of the building, a gravel area remained. It was a bit of an eye-sore and Stromquist became especially motivated to make a project happen there after a community member asked one afternoon while walking his dog if it was a big litter box.

“We need to make this something else,” she thought. “It can’t just be this gravel pit that sits there.”

She surveyed staff to see if a community garden was an option.

Things started getting off the ground last spring, around the time that Ocean Grove Elementary School was building its own community garden, a 1,110 sq. foot behemoth.

Stromquist reached out to the community to see if anyone could help. Companies donated supplies and tools, a majority of the dirt and the fencing. Local groups awarded them grants.

On Sept. 20, during a work party, the raised beds were installed and filled with dirt.

There’s already a healthy selection of plants in the boxes.

“Right now we have peas and carrots and squash and dill; we have strawberries and blackberries and then we have some kale and chives, radishes, spinach, lettuce,” said Stromquist. “We have quite a variety in there right now.”

Many of the plants were started during the summer. A number of their sensory garden specimens were donated as starters and include lamb’s Ear, chives, mint chocolate, lemon balm and kale – anything that smells or feels interesting.

The garden is also a learning opportunity for Stromquist, who just started her own garden at home this year.

“Just being able to watch from the very beginning to the end… being able to plant the seeds with the kids and then monitoring them and watching them grow and making the kids understand things take time and it takes effort and things don’t just happen overnight,” she said. “If you do put in that effort and take the time then something great will come out of it.”

With the community garden being so new for the school, most of the harvest is happening classroom by classroom. Stromquist thinks that maybe in the future they might have school-wide meals or activities.

“There’s just endless learning opportunities with a garden,” she said. “It’s learning for everybody not just the students, but for the teachers and staff and everybody working together to make it all work.”

RELATED: VIDEO: Campbell River elementary school garden to teach kids where food comes from

RELATED: At Ocean Grove, it took a community to raise a school garden


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Cedar Elementary Students transfer dirt into wheelbarrows for their new community garden on Sept. 20, 2019. Photo by Marissa Tiel/Campbell River Mirror

Just Posted

Suspects carry out 500-lb fireplace in latest commercial smash and grab

Third break-in at Campbell River business in less than a week: RCMP

TSB investigating the grounding of Nana Provider on Quadra

‘This was a wake-up call to the people on the inside passage,’ says area director

With locks, you get what you pay for: RCMP offer tips for keeping bikes safe

Documenting the bicycle and knowing the serial number also help

Survey gives City of Campbell River some kudos, but also some raspberries

Some satisfaction survey results improved, while others stagnated or declined since 2016

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Salvation Army kettle campaign targets $200,000 for Island residents in need

Goal is to raise $250,000 this year for Vancouver Island residents needing support

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Most Read