Timberline student Kaylee Wilson works in the new Edible Courtyard at the high school.

Garden unites students

A school garden is doubling as an outdoor classroom at Timberline Secondary School and providing students with hands-on education around the importance of healthy eating habits.

A school garden is doubling as an outdoor classroom at Timberline Secondary School and providing students with hands-on education around the importance of healthy eating habits.

The garden, dubbed the Edible Courtyard, is growing in the quad between Timberline and North Island College and benefits both schools.

It provides students with the opportunity to grow and eat their own fresh produce and promotes sustainability and self-reliance.

At Timberline, the Skills for Life class tends to the garden, raking the soil and preparing it for planting.

“They’re out here pretty much every afternoon to work on it and they’ve really stuck with it,” said Kevin Harrison, Timberline principal. “The garden’s been a wonderful addition to the school and it’s involved so many students. It’s a nice way to unite people around a good idea.”

Woodwork students cut up all the wood and put the garden beds together while a science class is doing an experiment comparing a 50/50 compost soil, a straight soil and a fish compost soil to determine which one will grow plants fastest.

The garden is the brainchild of Kira DeSorcy, a former Timberline student. DeSorcy presented Harrison with her vision for the Edible Courtyard, a concept Harrison could not resist.

“It totally caught my attention and it supports our school’s overall vision to teach kids how to become stewards of the environment and take care of our planet,” said Harrison.

DeSorcy envisions the garden as not only a place to grow food, but to promote horticultural therapy and to use the Edible Courtyard as a tool for school counsellors.

The garden occupies approximately 4,000 square feet and will yield herbs, blueberries, strawberries, eggplant, tomatoes, kiwi and pepper among other things.

The food will go towards the Skills for Life’s once-a-week lunch program and North Island College will use the herbs and vegetables in its culinary arts programs.

When the garden is complete it will have eight garden beds side-by-side with a bed for perennial plants around the outside of the garden.

Down the middle will be picnic benches for student use and at the back of the garden there are plans for a shed that will double as an outdoor classroom.