West Ferris Gets Packing and Provides Take Home Garden Kits During Covid

West Ferris Intermediate and Secondary School, North Bay, Ontario
Grades 7-12
2020-2021 (Grant Year 1) Seed Grant Recipient

Contactless pick up of garden kits
West Ferris Intermediate and Secondary School, located in North Bay Ontario and has 325 intermediate and 684 secondary students. In February 2021, West Ferris recognized 50 years of education and community connection, and in March, they were awarded a F2CC Seed grant to help expand an existing school garden and procure more local food experiences for students.

West Ferris has a strong commitment to growing and cooking local, in-season food and in 2014 they established a large school garden. Intermediate students are the garden growers and stewards, and secondary foods classes cook the garden harvest and offer it to students as samples or school lunches. West Ferris works hard to minimize food waste and turns any excess garden bounty into soup or muffins. The school also participates in the Northern Fruit and Vegetable program which provides “two free servings of fruit and vegetables each week to students (JK to grade 8) from January to June”.

Although West Ferris’s Northern location allowed them to be in-school longer than other Ontario schools, they closed in early April, 2021. With no student access to the garden, West Ferris used part of their seed grant to create “at home gardener” kits. Students had the choice of receiving seeds to plant in their own garden, or a kit which included a pot, soil, seeds and instruction booklet. Most students chose the kit option. The kits were available at the school via contactless outdoor pick up. To engage students and encourage participation, they were asked to send in growth updates via photos or FlipGrid. FlipGrid is a website that allows teachers to create “grids” to facilitate video discussion. Each grid is similar to a message board where teachers pose questions and students respond with videos that appear in a tiled grid display.

West Ferris is looking forward to September and is hoping to use remaining grant money to buy garden equipment, support farmer visits to the school (in-person or online), and host local food tasting days for students.

Thanks to West Ferris teacher, Trisha Bradford for providing content for this blog. 

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