Victoria High students dig in to build a bigger school garden

Photo: Victoria High School students spread leaf mulch as they expand the school garden on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Photograph By DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A school garden at Victoria High School has tripled in size, thanks to a group of volunteers who spread a load of leaf mulch Friday to extend the dimensions.

Vic High’s garden is one of several school gardens in the Greater Victoria school district.

Students and staff were part of the volunteer effort that has expanded the garden to 45 metres by 15 metres, but it will take time for the new area to be ready for planting.

“You have the leaf mulch and manure under a tarp and let it cook,” said Aaren Topley of the Farm to School organization.

A grand opening will take place in the spring.

A big part of the project will be forming partnerships with the surrounding community, Topley said, noting that the intention is to grow produce for both the school and people living nearby.

“We want to let the neighbours know they have a really cool garden in their backyard.”

The garden got going in September 2015 and was soon a source of fresh produce for the school’s lunch program and salad bar.

Carrots, lettuce and herbs have all been part of the harvest.

The school district has supported the garden project, and recent funding has come from the likes of Whole Foods, Farm to School B.C. and Farm to Cafeteria Canada. Farm to School B.C. promotes hands-on learning about food issues for students, while Farm to Cafeteria Canada aims to educate people to help bring healthy food to public institutions.

One key to the project is assistance from nearby Mason Street Farm, an urban farm where the motto is “education through cultivation.”

The quarter-acre site in the North Park area is on a plot of land that has been cultivated for more than 25 years.

Original Post

Jeff Bell
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
Times Colonist


Video and additional news story: 

Vic High builds Vancouver Island’s first school farm

WATCH: You can get produce at a grocery store, at a farmer’s market and soon at Vic High. That’s where the Island’s first school farm is being built. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

When you think of where to get fresh produce you might think of a grocery store or a farmer’s market. Soon you can add a school to that list.

Victoria High School is building Vancouver Island’s first farm on school land. The pilot project aims to give students hands-on learning about the farming industry.

The funds to build the farm come from Farm to School BC, a group run by Public Health Association BC.

“This [school] will be actually having a farmer work on it and give that operational learning experience for students to learn how to grow their own food,” says Aaren Topley, Capital Region animator for Farm to School BC. READ MORE

Isabelle Raghemon

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7 hours ago

Today is Family Literacy Day and this year's theme is: Learning in the Great Outdoors 🌱🍓🌳🏵️How perfect! Last fall we celebrated all the ways that farm to school is grounded in land-based learning. We have seen the healthy impacts of outdoor classrooms and we encourage hands-on-learning as part of the school curriculum! bit.ly/34iYnsgHow do YOU learn in the great outdoors?Check out resources and activities with Life Literacy Canada: abclifeliteracy.ca/all-programs/family-literacy-day/@abclifeliteracy #farm2school #landbasedlearning #outdoorclassrooms #handsonlearning ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

It has been 5 years since the launch of the Farm to School Canada Grant program. Incredibly, that program has now afforded more than 53,000 students in 133 schools right across Canada an opportunity to feast on healthy local foods at school.One of most important aspects of the grant program continues to be it's FLEXIBILITY, underpinned by the understanding that a cookie cutter approach to school food is NOT going to work in Canada. To close the distance between children, their food and their land, in this vast country with it’s diverse ecosystems and its multicoloured tapestry of people and food culture, the program needs to meet children, schools, and whole communities where they were at. It also needs to be developed, and driven by the community - the school and the local food system community.Today, if you visit any of these schools you will likely see a whole lot more than a salad bar. School greenhouses, gardens, farms, smoke houses, root cellars, kitchens, and/or dining areas are commonplace in recipient schools. And in these places, often the heartbeat of the school, you will likely see dozens of excited children happily digging in.I suppose this is why I am thrilled to see that F2CC and WKF have put out another call for proposals. Up to $10,000 per school is available. If your school has a vision, partners, and a plan, please send in a proposal. Deadline January 31, 2022. www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/our-work/farm-to-school-grants/ ... See MoreSee Less
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