Spring is here again and with it the promise of your garden’s activity and bounty!
This year, as part of the Ontario 150th Anniversary celebrations, we are extending and expanding our annual event to build the network of school gardens, and to help build partnerships with local businesses and organizations to support your gardens over the years to come. School Gardens Celebration Week is May 15 to 19.
Because this year marks a special anniversary for our province, we are encouraging each of you to do something special with your garden celebrations. You can choose a day in the week for your celebration (or all the days!) and let us know your plans. A display about your gardens that can be posted in a public space in your school or organization is one way to draw added interest in your gardens. You can also share photos and videos of the display with us, and we can promote your efforts through social media. As part of your display, we request that you include logos for School Garden Celebration Week and Ontario 150, which you can access when you sign up.
For more information about this year’s event, please contact Coordinator David Fields at email@example.com.
This year, because we have generous support from the Ontario 150 Community Celebrations Program, we are able to offer support to each of you to help make your garden efforts sustainable now and over the years to come. Over the coming weeks, with your assistance, we will reach out to potential partners in your community who can provide resources for your gardens, be it volunteer help over the summer months, seeds and equipment or whatever your particular needs may be.
Thank you for your school garden efforts, and for participating in School Gardens Celebration Week! We will be in touch with over the coming weeks to share updates. If you have any questions or needs, please feel free to contact David Fields, Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Garden Day 2016 will be on May 20 – just around the corner! As in previous years, the event is held by YOU in your school garden, and when you REGISTER your school and SHARE photos, we ALL get the benefit of knowing we’re not the only ones out there, loving the magic of school gardens, and building towards collective impact!
I recently attended a ministry of Education consultation, with Education Alliance for a Sustainable Ontario. We praised the ministry for their progressive new Policy Framework around Experiential Learning. This is a great frame for our work in the food- and environmental-literacy movement, such as that taking place in school gardens. (You can read my submission to the Ministry about our organization here.)
I’ll be back to you all about this year’s prizes and incentives to register. Meantime, enjoy the sunny spring-like weather we’re having in most of the province!
Belatedly I realized we hadn’t updated you on the lovely School Garden Day celebrations across Ontario. From Thunder Bay to Ottawa, Sarnia to Peterborough, and in the GTA, 36 schools registered or were included in school garden partner non-profits registrations. That’s up 38% from last year!
Our six winners of $75 gift certificates, thanks to a micro-grant from the Biodiversity Awareness and Education Network, were:
Winners were chosen by number of students participating in School Garden Day, represented as a percentage of the school population. So here’s a challenge – if you won a gift certificate, find another school to bring into our School Garden Day Celebration next year!
The first 20 teachers who registered for School Garden Day also received a cool package from USC Canada – a Bean Biodiversity Kit featuring 3 different heritage bean types grown by Ontario farmers. Recipients are urged to pay it forward, saving those seeds and passing them along, as farmers and gardeners have done for countless generations and will continue, as part of our human right to food and conviviality!
Bravo to all participants, and please share the message widely – garden-based learning is effective and fun, and every school should have a garden!
Sunday (for the IGES team)
Sue Luff, Co-Chair St. Brigid CSC, writes:
I would say we had a total of approx. 75 kids involved in our gardens the week of School Garden day!
We are still a work in progress as we have a second phase going in after summer. Our school is running an adopt a tree, shrub or plant program to help fund our large project.
Leila Mireskandari, Gardening Teacher and Director, Kids’ Growing City writes:
Please find pictures of students at Central Montessori School, Thornhill Campus attached.
Students harvested spinach that they had grown from seeds and offered it to school kitchen.
They kept one spinach plant to let it go to seed.
They then replanted the pot with a Cherry Tomato.
Leila Mireskandari, Gardening Teacher and Director, Kids’ Growing City writes:
Please find pictures of students at Central Montessori School, Maplehurst Campus attached.
SK students worked on parts of plants and planted Pumpkin seeds in cups.
Elementary students harvested spinach that they had grown from seeds and offered it to school kitchen.
Congratulations Yorkhill! Looks beautiful & fun. Butterflies and kids alike will enjoy these plantings.
Doris Behar writes:
This is what Yorkhill Elementary School did.
We made 2 planters outside the front doors of the school. We made an area for a butterfly garden and the kindergarten classes planted the plants. A parent is designing a self watering irrigation system for this garden.
Meghan Stock from Winchester Public School sends this:
We had great participation in our Garden Drum circle. All three kindergarten classes came out to the garden where we drummed and chanted for the better part of half an hour.
Thanks for this great initiative!
Well thank YOU Meghan, for the wonderful photos below.
Winchester Public School in Toronto is where I got bit by the school garden bug! So happy to see these and to have had today to hang with the Winchester crowd at their Fun Fair.
From our friends at EdWeb:
Join us for the next Growing School Gardens webinar!
Tuesday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time
Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden Program
Presented by John Fisher, Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab; with Kevin Hesser, Middle School Teacher and Co-Director of Gardens to Grow In
In This Session
There is no one way to fund a garden program – there are hundreds! In this webinar, Life Lab’s John Fisher and Gardens to Grow In’s Kevin Hesser will share a wide variety of ideas to finance your school garden program. From finding grants and supportive policy, to school garden micro-enterprise and farm-raisers, their discussion will provide funding ideas for all aspects of your school garden, including garden supplies and staffing school garden instructors. John and Kevin’s presentation will share examples of how they have funded the school garden programs that they run, along with insight from other successful garden programs. Topics will include:
- Tools for creating a garden budget
- Telling your story
- Garnering school or district support
- Cultivating donors
- Farm and garden based fundraisers
- Tips for finding grants
- Policy that supports school garden programs
- Innovative ways to fund a garden program
Join this live, interactive session to learn new ways to fund your new or existing school garden program. John and Kevin will field questions from attendees after their presentation.
To Participate in the Live Session
– This webinar will be recorded and archived in this community for viewing at anytime.
About the Presenters
is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab
. Through his work at Life Lab, John provides training and support to thousands of garden educators across the nation. John is a co-founder of the California School Garden and National School Garden Networks. He coordinates the garden program at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, California. Follow John on Twitter @lifelabtweets
is a school teacher and garden coordinator in Calaveras Unified School District. He teaches art, gardening, and cooking at Toyon Middle School, and supports garden programs at several elementary schools and the high school farm. Kevin co-founded Gardens to Grow In
, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports and promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles in Calaveras County schools and communities by teaching children and families how to grow and prepare healthy food through school and community garden based programs.
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to learn about upcoming webinars and special events!