Cobourg Collegiate Institute, Cobourg, ON
Grant term, 2023-2024

The Environment Club at Cobourg Collegiate Institute embarked on a significant project aimed at promoting sustainability and healthy eating habits within our campus community. This initiative involved the construction and implementation of a Grow Tower as part of the Dig In! Seed Grant Project. The purpose of this report is to document the process, outcomes, and future implications of this project. In our school there are ~1300 students in grades 9-12 who are able to see our grow tower in our cafeteria, who we have named H.E.R.B. which stands for Hydroponic Educational Robotic Botanist.
Project Overview:

The Dig In! Seed Grant Project was conceived as a means to foster environmental stewardship while enhancing the nutritional quality of meals served in our cafeteria. The primary objective was to construct a vertical hydroponic grow tower capable of producing a variety of fresh produce, including leafy greens, herbs, and vegetables. This initiative aligned with our club’s mission to promote sustainable practices and raise awareness about the importance of locally sourced, organic foods.

Implementation Process:

Research and Planning: The project commenced with extensive research into hydroponic systems and vertical gardening techniques. We consulted with experts, studied existing models, and analyzed the feasibility of different designs. After careful consideration, we selected a modular vertical tower system that maximized space efficiency and water conservation.

Funding and Resources: Securing funding was crucial for the success of the project. We applied for the Dig In! Seed Grant, which provided financial support for initiatives promoting farm-to-table sustainability in educational institutions.

Planting and Maintenance: The next phase involved planting a variety of seeds and seedlings in the grow tower. We chose fast-growing, nutrient-rich crops such as lettuce, kale and basil. Club members assumed responsibility for daily maintenance tasks, including monitoring water levels, adjusting nutrient concentrations, and pruning plants as needed.


The construction and implementation of the grow tower as part of the Dig In! Seed Grant Project exemplifies the commitment of the Environment Club to promoting environmental sustainability, healthy eating, and community engagement. Despite various challenges, the project has yielded positive outcomes and valuable lessons that will inform future endeavours. By harnessing the power of collaboration, innovation, and education, we strive to create a more resilient and thriving school ecosystem for years to come.

Quote from a student: “HERB has added a unique touch to the school’s culinary program. It now not only allows students to create food for the community. But also to learn about the time and effort behind growing produce.” – Maia Bailey

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