As summer vacation approaches, Greenways Land Trust and local schools are looking for people to help keep school gardens in Campbell River thriving until students are back in September.
Carihi Secondary School is one of the six schools in Campbell River with gardens. Their program was started by culinary teacher Jessica Mann, who wanted to have a place for students to access fresh food while at school, and to be able to teach them about the food systems that are in place to help feed us.
“When I started there was nothing here,” she said. “I wanted the kids to be able to come out and access food, fresh herbs and to be able to pick them right out of the garden for a learning experience.”
Mann and her students use the food that comes from the garden in their classwork, and she values the continuity that comes from letting the students see the plant cycle from beginning to end.
“For the kid who actually planted something to be able to come back and see it actually thriving and still growing, and getting to harvest it and use it is good,” she said.
However, getting to that point requires some outside help.
Greenways Land Trust is looking for garden-savvy volunteers to come down to one of the six schools and make sure they are continuing to grow and thrive through the summer. Only around one hour per week would be required, and volunteers will be able to reap the benefits of the gardens themselves.
“As a volunteer you’ll not only be helping keep these gardens active for students to enjoy come September, you’ll be able to enjoy them yourselves. Taking home fresh raspberries mid-summer, teaching your kids how to grow plants from seed…there’s a lot to love about gardening,” read a Greenways press release about the program.
“It’s particularly a good opportunity for people right now,” added Greenways School Programs Coordinator Josie Simpson. “We’re not going to be doing a lot of travelling this summer, we’re supposed to stay close to home and there are families with kids who would usually be going to camp, but won’t be able to go. Getting out in the garden is a great opportunity to be engaged, learn stuff and have a fun project for the summer.”
Simpson said other schools that have signed on to the program include École Phoenix Middle School, Timberline Secondary School, Cedar Elementary, École Willow Point Elementary and Southgate Middle School.
Volunteers can sign up by contacting Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-287-3785.