Riverview Middle School, Riverview, NB
2018-2019 (Grant Year 1)
Thanks to a partnership with Farm to Cafeteria Canada, we can offer students healthier food options. As an alternative to their traditional hot lunch options, student can now order customized subs and salads sourced from locally sourced produce and meat. In order to address the region’s short growing season, RMS staff and students have devised a strategy to supply the salad/sub bar with fresh produce year-round. Hydroponics!!
We currently have two garden towers that students were responsible for building, choosing and planting the vegetables and herbs, and maintaining the system. The maintenance includes pruning, balancing pH, checking water levels, filling the tank, and harvesting. In addition to acting as a catalyst for experiential learning, the garden has also led to a significant change in students’ eating habits. They can now walk by it each day and see it growing, knowing that this food will eventually make it to their lunches. The success of the project can’t be measured simply by students’ new appreciation for vocational skills, healthy living, and life science (although that is clear). The deep impact comes in the form of watching students embrace this type of hands-on learning and turn it into a self-directed odyssey. We’ll catch them smelling the plants and trimming off dead leaves or overgrowth independently and unprompted. It’s amazing!
As a result of our Seed to Sub program, students:
- Know how to grow and prepare their own food
- Are eating better
- Talk to their parents about healthy food
- Are selling their produce to the school’s food service provider, raising funds for their school while learning valuable financial skills
- Have reduced the school’s carbon footprint
- Enjoy engaging with their towers – this is especially impactful among students with behaviour challenges and special needs