Each year Grandview Elementary hosts a Spring Celebration to bring students and parents together to celebrate this new season. This year there was a new attraction at the event – a garden market.
Set up like a farmer's market, students sold plants, microgreens and handmade salves and lip balms made with ingredients from their school garden.
The garden market is just one of the ways students at elementary schools across the school district are getting their hands dirty to learn about food, biodiversity and community.
"Most of these kids live in apartments and don't have gardens," says Charlotte Hewson, garden coordinator at Grandview Elementary. "I notice over the months, or over the season that they become more comfortable in the garden and really know what to do."
Across town at Queen Elizabeth Elementary, students are bringing the garden into the classroom with an aquaponics tower in Sarah Peerless' grade 7 class, where kids can watch their leafy greens and herbs grow while learning. They are also taking it outside in two plots planted with an assortment of vegetables.
"We've been studying companion planting and exploring what happens when we plant different plants next to each other," says Peerless. "We bring it back into the classroom through studying biodiversity and using the garden to talk about community, because the garden is a community in itself."
The lessons in the garden go beyond school hours and helping kids think about food in their extracurricular life. Grade 7 students Kate and Eva have different hobbies, but both require a good knowledge of plants.
"I like to bake and when you are baking it's really good to grow different fruits, so you know where your food is coming from," says Kate.
Eva is a runner and see the importance of nutritious plants in helping her be an athlete.
"It's really important that you get good food and proper nutrition when you are running and growing a garden is a really good way to see what you are putting in your body," says Eva.
The gardens are also teaching students at both schools the importance of working together. "You have to work together because the garden is not going to grow itself," says Eva pointedly.
Once all the vegetables have grown the gardens will rest over the winter to be seeded by a new group of students.