Chelmsford Valley Composite School, Chelmsford, ON
Grant term 2020-2022

CVDCS is a K-12 school with 550 students located in Chelmsford, Ontario. We are a community school that services a wide, rural geographical area. We have many programs to support the well being of our students including an active Ecoschools team (EcoFlyers), a Construction SHSM, an Arts and Culture SHSM and cooperative learning opportunities.

We pride ourselves on creating a community within our walls and this project is an example of that K-12 community coming together. For our Farm to School Canada grant it was our goal to include many of our partners within our school and to include students from ages 4-18. Students engaged in starting seedlings indoors, caring for those indoor seedlings and transplanting the seedlings to newly constructed garden beds. Our Construction SHSM constructed a substantial raised bed garden which we will now be using each year to grow and use the food grown from these plants in our school. It is our hope that this September we will not only benefit from the food in the garden, but will also be in a position to collect seeds and teach students how to harvest their own seeds for planting the following year. Much of the expense was for construction materials and soil. Having this grant allowed us to cover the up front cost of these materials so that we could build an opportunity that has been a dream for many of our students and staff. 

The next section tells the story, through photos, video, and written student testimonials of the experience that the Farm to School Canada grant gave us this school year. We look forward to the opportunities this will provide in the years to come. We believe that this is the type of grant that creates a sustainable opportunity for our school.

Student testimonials

Hunter

Hello my name is Hunter and my school is called C.V.D.C.S and is located in Chelmsford Ontario, Canada. There really is nothing special about our school, thought this school does go from junior kindergarten to grade twelve which is rare to see, but other then that it really is just your run of the mill school, but in my eyes that’s what makes it so special, Its average and doesn’t stand out meaning everyone is not going to flock to C.V.D.C.S now are they. Now we have been making a garden and I’ve contributed by making some temporary pots for the plantlings due to them getting too big for the previous temporary pots as well as filling said pots with dirt for the transplant. the transplant went well and none of the plants died while transplanting them.  Now this is what I have learned about while participating in this project of ours, I have learnt that plants need plenty of water and sun for photosynthesis and that sun through a window is not “true sunlight” (quote from mr hums.) and that filling big gardens required three types of “soil” that being normal soil, poo, and lightly coloured soil.  Growing food is important because everyone has to eat and that food has to come somewhere and why have a middle man named meat when we can just get it from the source known as plants.  One life lesson I learned while a part of this project is that plants are important in our daily life and we need to take better care of them, that not all animal products are the healthiest and we need to be more mindful of what we put in our bodys.  In the future I hope to use this knowledge in helping me make my own garden to make my own foods for consumption and to survive.  Thank you for reading my thing if you’ve even gotten this far so if you are reading this you are amazing and probably bored as well and to Mr hums thank you for letting me write this instead of going to the store with you!

Kaeley

Chelmsford Valley District Composite School is a kindergarten to grade twelve school located in Chelmsford, Ontario at 3594 Highway 144. Our school is unique from other schools due to the fact we have kindergarten to grade twelve students, which isn’t commonly seen among schools.

In our Foods and Nutrition class we have been planting various types of vegetables throughout the past few months. We began by planting the seeds in starter planters and allowing them to grow in those before transplanting them into larger individual pots. For the different types of lettuce we had to separate the individual lettuce plants into their own pots. We watered them each week on two separate days to make sure they had the accurate amounts of nutrients to grow. In the latest class we prepared the garden beds for when we transplant the plants outside in their final stage. We added bags of soil, sheep manure, and peat moss to the three separate beds we had created in preparation for our outdoor plants. 

I personally have learned more about gardening than I knew before. Starting the plants indoors and transplanting them into different pots was new information I had gathered. As well as adding peat moss to the soil mixture in the garden beds. I wasn’t well educated about gardening before beginning this project but as we have gone through the steps of this project I’ve gathered more information on how to create a garden step by step.

In my opinion growing food for yourself in a garden is a good skill to know. In recent years we all have been finding ways to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and creating your own food is an easy way to contribute to that. It cuts out the plastic waste that buying produce creates and can help to create a compost which is great for food waste, which gardening would create. It is a good skill to have and is a good option for becoming more sustainable in your own home. 

One life lesson I have taken from this project is it is not very easy to begin a garden due to our various mistakes, but it can be rewarding. The ability to grow your own assortment of foods is very sustainable for yourself and the environment. You can save money and avoid the pesticides added into the foods available at the grocery stores. You have more variety in what you are able to produce and there’s a feeling of accomplishment from creating your own food. 

Carter O

I attend C.V.D.C.S which is located in Chelmsford, Ontario on highway 144. I think our school is unique for a couple reasons, one being that we are a kindergarten to grade 12 school which isn’t usually at most high schools, older students have to watch how they act even more so than normal because we literally walk by children in the halls between classes and they will follow what they see, this making are school more of a friendly place. I also think its unique how small are student numbers are here, we are one of the smallest schools in the area so anybody can do anything they want such as sports, commintes, and school activities. Other school students don’t get as many chances as we do to do something due to their big schools. In my current foods class we have recently been working on a garden project we have been  working with seeds, soil and even making are own plant pots out of newspapers. One life lesson I would take away from my planting experience is to make sure the plants are getting enough sunlight, but not too much.I have enjoyed the process of watching are vegetables grow and even die, Its cool to study why the plant has not worked out, I’ve learned that it is easy to give a plant too much water and even what perfect soil feels and looks like. I will use my knowledge of gardening in my later life when i have my own backyard and garden. I will know how to safely transplant, safely water the plants and even how to make more gardening space.  

Matt P

Chelmsford valley district composite school is a school that promotes true North American freedom, the students can pretty much get away with anything and the teachers don’t know how to treat us.

I have interacted with seeds in class by planting a lot of seeds in dirt

I learned that growing seeds is easy but you just have to keep them well maintained and don’t overwater them

Learning how to grow food is important to my own life because I like to be able to eat fresh vegetables and I don’t want to spend money on evil food cooperations

A life lesson I learned was to not overwater plants I hope to use this lesson and not overwater plants

Amaya

Hello, my name is Amaya, my school is C.V.D.C.S. and it’s located in Chelmsford, Canada. I would say that it is a pretty normal school, it’s small, has kindergarten, elementary and high school combined, and also has French immersion, but overall it is not a “special” school. It was a good interaction, although some plants drowned and died because there were many things we did not know, such as how much water we should pour, what the pots should be like, or the light the plants should receive, among others. other things, all these factors are important for the growth of plants and we, being new to this subject, were unaware, but despite that, I think it was a good experience. Honestly, I didn’t know how much work is put into planting and how engaged you have to be to keep the plants healthy and growing, I was surprised at how long the process is, and how responsible you have to be. But in the end, I think that this is very worthwhile, since it is a kind way to the environment, and it is a good way to generate food for ourselves, and somehow have a good source of food with which we can help the environment. A lesson that this project has taught me is to appreciate the value of food and the responsibility that we have to have when participating in a group project, in which we take care of the food. I have also managed to understand the reason for the high value of organic food, since vegetables and fruits of organic origin, although they do not have additives or preservatives, since do not go through a chemical process. Even so, the work that is done is quite arduous, since it is necessary to invest a lot of time and money in the materials, to obtain a good result with the food that will be harvested. I have learned how important it is to be responsible in terms of caring for the environment and the care that plants should receive, I have also learned the value of work, and the responsibility that comes with taking care of the food that will be harvested in the future. It is important to take care of the vegetables since it is expected that in the future everything that is harvested, we can consume. From now on I would like to take more time to appreciate the value of food, and I would even like to improve my skills, and soon participate again in planting and tending a garden. I would like to make my garden to be able to grow my food and improve my skills in gardening. Thank you for reading my reflection.

Alyssa

I go to Chelmsford Valley District Composite School(CVDCS) in chelmsford ontario, highway 144. Something unique about our school is that it goes from jk-grade 12. 

I got to make newspaper plant pots, fill gardens with soil, learn how to separate seeds and transfer plants. I learned that if you take a little time out of your week you could start a nice garden that could help with produce needs and just cheapen your grocery bill. I also learned that when transplanting lettuce into different pots you have to separate each root because there’s multiple that are going to be one plant. 

1 life lesson i have learned from this project is how hard it actually is to maintain a garden even if it is small, so be glad that most grocery stores have cheap produce for now.

I’ll use what i’ve learned to hopefully build my own garden and be able to eat fresh salads and give my friends some vegetables and fruit. 

Carter Corbiere

I attend CVDCS, Chelmsford Valley District Composite School, a small school located in the middle of Chelmsford. Since it is smaller, students have a closer relationship with the school and area since it’s small enough to know most people in the community around you. This fact makes it easier to teach the students and help them much more personally since there aren’t extremely big classes. This year the school decided to have a school wide goal to get a bunch of classes involved in planting and gardening, mine included. This means I learnt what good growing your own fruit and vegetables can do and how to do it well. First we planted the seeds, then we would water them when needed, then once the plants had begun to sprout and were big enough we placed them into separate little paper containers to make it easier to plant later on, once ready we placed them individually into our garden beds we made and peeped in conjunction with another class, they built the bed itself we mixed and prepared the ground where we placed the plants. While I was in class learning about the nutritional values of different foods the teacher mentioned “vegetables and fruit have most of the nutrients needed to keep humans healthy” which is why I believe we started planting our own food in the class. One life lesson I took away from this project was how good grown foods are for you and how fun it can be to grow them yourself and with people. This lesson also inspired me to help restore some of the garden beds at my mothers place of work, a community living home located just a little past Chelmsford, the beds were left alone for more than two years, nearly three, since the workers in the homes were not able to go to the area where the beds were located because of covid restrictions. This left the garden beds in a horrible condition, overgrown weeds took over the beds and very few of the original plants were left, so I decided to spend my weekend volunteering and got the beds looking pretty good again. I did this so that the homes could plant their own produce again like they used to and let some of the new people there experience gardening if they haven’t before. I plan to use this lesson later in life as well. I would like to plant more with my family, since my mom does I can join her, and get more of my family into it. I would also like to do this to improve my diet and eat more of the nutrition I need.

Olivia M

I attend Chelmsford Valley District Composite School located 3594 ON-144, Chelmsford and what I think makes our school unique is that we have 3 SHSM’s which include Arts and Culture SHSM which i’m in, Health and Wellness SHSM and lastly Construction Tech SHSM.

During this process I’ve had the opportunity to make paper pots, separate and repot different types of plants we have, I’ve helped prepare the soil for transplanting and helped put the plants in the planters box as well as watering them before class.

I’ve learned that making a garden and all of the steps to go with it are a lot more complicated than I originally thought. There is a big process involved in growing a successful garden.

Growing food is important in my own life because it teaches basic and useful survival skills when it comes to providing for yourself and how to survive off natural resources. 

One life lesson I’ve taken away from this experience is that I don’t personally like the process of planting and that it takes time, patience and precision. In all honesty I don’t think i’ll go through this process again in my personal life but it was interesting watching the process.