Photo Above: A mural depicting the Saskatchewan First Nations School Garden Program. Graphic Facilitation: Shelley Keyes.

First Nations school communities in Southeastern Saskatchewan have started a school garden program to help children, youth and families make healthy, local, and sustainable food choices. There are three schools involved: Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex, Keeseekoose Chiefs Education Centre, and the Kakisiwew School Ochapowace First Nation.

The schools are doing great things with their gardens:

  • Learning about healthy eating by growing, preparing and preserving food from the gardens
  • Supporting school meal programs with the garden harvest
  • Developing  healthy school nutrition policies
  • Partnering with students, parents and other community members

On March 24, 2015, representatives from the three communities met to share stories about their school community gardens with representatives from the partner organizations (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Propel Centre for Population Health Impact). Each shared experiences from their first year with their garden. They described what worked, the challenges they encountered, as well as ideas and plans they have for the future.   

Students from Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex planning (Spring 2014).
Students from Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex planning (Spring 2014).
Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex:

On May 27, 2014, the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex kicked off their community gardening activities. Students in Grades 1 to 12 helped seed and plant many types of vegetables. Each grade planted different fruits and vegetables.

When their garden was ready for harvest, the students, teachers, and community members got together to prepare a locally-grown feast in the school gymnasium. Students from all grades helped prepare and can their fresh grown vegetables. As a community, everyone made the feast a giant success!

Keeseekoose Chiefs Education Centre:
Students from Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex preparing the harvest feast (Fall 2014).
Students from Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex preparing the harvest feast (Fall 2014).

Keeseekoose Chiefs Education Centre also had a vision to create a school garden in front of their building. Although they had some challenges, through their hard work, the children and community enjoyed growing potatoes in their garden. In the future, Keeseekoose Chiefs Education Centre would like to continue involving their community in their garden project.

Kakisiwew School  Ochapowace First Nation:
Students and teacher from Kakisiwew School planning (Spring 2014).
Students and teacher from Kakisiwew School planning (Spring 2014).

Kakisiwew School Ochapowace First Nation had great success in their first year planting gardens at the school and in the community.  Their goal was to support local healthy food environments.

The students from grades 3 to 6 participated with the help of their community members and Elders. The community and Elders were involved by helping to weed and water the plants, as well as demonstrating how to can vegetables. Their harvest included everything from yellow beans, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and strawberries. They incorporated these vegetables and fruits into a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner for the entire community held at the Kakisiwew School.

Last summer, the school also hosted a Leadership Health Empowerment of Youth (HEY) culture camp with 28 students.  The workshop included topics about preventing chronic disease through a nutritious diet and fitness activities. This leadership camp really kick-started their goal and motivated the whole school community including students, teachers, principal, elders, parents and community partners.

Join us at our “Changing the Menu” conference to learn more about these projects and many other exciting initiatives:

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Filter Blog Posts by Tags

F2CC on Facebook

13 hours ago

# Planning to HAVE YOUR SAY on a National School Food Policy for Canada?Join the **“Amplifying Our Voices”** Workshop to be held THIS COMING MONDAY December 12, 2022 between noon and 1pm EST.You can complete the form during the session or complete it later on your own. **See you there! ****Coalition for Healthy School Food #farm2school #nationalschoolfood **## ***workshop: december 12th!*****Until December 16th, the Government of Canada is seeking public input on school food programs and the most important objectives for a school food policy. **Join the **“Amplifying Our Voices”** Workshop to be held on Monday December 12, 2022 between noon and 1pm EST. Hosted by the Coalition for Healthy School Food, this interactive workshop will allow people to complete the form during the session or to complete it by their organization at a later time. **Register**[ **here](****To have your say on a national school food policy, visit the [consultation web page](, read the discussion paper and share your views by December 16, 2022. ****For more info: ** for Healthy School Food #farm2school #nationalschoolfoodpolicy #nationalschoolfoodprogram ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook

3 days ago

**Exciting news for Northern Alberta! Two schools in Alberta’s Peace Region are benefiting from a pilot project to establish and grow farm to school in the region in the 2022/23 school year. **The Animator role is being filled by the dynamic duo, Amy Soudek and Christine Findlay, behind [ONE Nutrition and Health]( who began in the role in September 2022. Amy and Christine are working with T.A. Norris Middle School in Peace River and Manning Elementary in Manning.**Read more about how One Nutrition will be mentoring the schools and what the schools have planned for their farm to school programs!****Check out how F2S is growing in other parts of Alberta!** Food Matters - Growing Food Security Network @onenutritionandhealth Whole Kids Foundation #farm2school #animator #localfood #foodsecurity #handsonlearning #foodliteracy ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook