Primary schools build urban gardens!

Within the framework of model 31, a project launched by the Supporting Montreal Schools Program, four classes in five primary schools had the opportunity to participate in the project “Nature and us: a journey through time”. In partnership with the Biosphere and the Château Ramezay Museum, Alternatives’ Rooftop Garden Project developed a new series of workshops in food systems literacy. Students began the journey last fall at the Biosphere where they learned about the intricate balance of life that allows an ecological garden to be both productive and beautiful. In the winter, they visited the Château Ramezay Museum where they discovered the cultural and traditional history of edible and medicinal plants used by the settlers of New France. The journey ended back in their schools where Alternatives visited each of these 20 classes throughout the spring to give a four-part workshop series in urban agriculture.

The series was designed to lead students through the life cycle of a vegetable from seed to plate, revealing the impact of our food system upon growers, consumers and the environment. A range of topics were addressed, including biotechnology, pesticides, climate change, companion planting, seed-saving, horticulture, plant biology and soil science. The workshops involved exercises in planting seedlings, building self-watering containers and caring for an urban garden. This practical component of the workshops enabled students to identify urban agriculture as a solution to food security issues while genuinely engaging with the subject matter.

This style of active learning is an not only an effective method of teaching, but also gives students and teachers the chance to work with soil and enjoy the fruits of the labor as they tend to the garden. One student proclaimed, “mixing the earth is a true passion!” Throughout the development of this new series, Alternatives worked along-side both teachers and students in defining the subject matter of the workshops and in planning, planting and tending to the garden. This unique collaboration between students, teachers and community organizers created a learning environment that crossed barriers of age and expertise. The result was an authentically inspired and participatory workshop series.

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Posté par jardiniers le Ven, 13/05/2011 - 12:14pm.