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The school garden was funded by the Fernwood PAC and grants when the garden and greenhouse were originally established in the early 1990s. From 1991 - 2004, Fernwood Elementary School was very fortunate to have a dedicated, passionate group of teachers who shared the ‘Let’s Grow For It’ program vision and goals in their classrooms and who were also willing to do the necessary ‘legwork’ in the greenhouse and in the garden beds.

Quote from Susan Lee, Nov 2019 SSI Garden Club Grapevine Newsletter:


"Along with a few other teachers, I helped initiate and develop the Fernwood School ‘Let’s Grow For It’ Garden program. With community help we raised money to add a greenhouse onto our school and developed a K-7 curriculum, where every student in every class became involved in gardening in some way. We composted lunches, grew food for the Food Bank, harvested lettuce in January, grew prize winning sweet peas for the Fall Fair, taught soil and insect science lessons, grew tomato seeds that had been flown in space, held plant sales to sustain our program, grew all the plants for Mother’s Day hanging baskets, and many more projects, over 10 successful years in the 1990’s. It was a wonderful program and I am honoured to have been a founding member. I’m also thrilled that most of the schools in our district have either revived, or started their own garden programs once again." 


When Principal Kelda Logan first arrived at the school, there were only 4 teachers and none of them were very involved with the garden.  She reached out to the SSI Garden Club and ended up with a community mentor who offered after school activities once a week for a while. Then, several new teachers arrived who were very excited and willing to take over the visioning, maintenance and gardening.  Each spring, a garden meeting is coordinated between interested teachers/classes/parents that further reinforces the positive connections between our community, our garden and making healthy food choices.


According to Susan Lee (one of the early founders of the school garden), there is the period of establishing the beds and soil (fundraising and buying the actual ‘bones' of the program - fencing, raised beds, garden tools, etc.), the planting of the seeds (getting everyone on board with the ideas and willingness to do the work), the harvest of the food (being able to share and celebrate your successes) and then the rest and rejuvenation through the winter (planning and preparing for the next garden season).  Every year it’s a full circle and a chance to start again and try new things in an ever changing climate.


Fernwood has an excellent road-side farmstand that is used to sell veggie and flower starts, to help cover costs like seeds, fertilizer, compost, greenhouse equipment and more. Students take turns being Farmstand Managers with designated tasks. This has been quite successful.


Under construction.


The fenced area of the garden includes several planting beds and hugel beds, with a large covered seating area, plus a garden toolshed and compost bins at the back of the garden. A separate greenhouse is attached to the school building. Each classroom at Fernwood has doors to the exterior, plus small outdoor play areas, so the garden area is very accessible. 


Numerous grantors and donors made the Fernwood Gardens possible, including BC Farm-to-School in 2015 and Rotary in 2017. More to come...


Fernwood parents & teachers have constructed wonderful outdoor gathering areas and garden improvements over the past few years, including a roof over the picnic tables in the garden, a rainwater catchment and irrigation system (thanks to Matt Nowell), plus a boulder circle and outdoor classroom in the front playfield.

Goals are to rebuild some of the raised beds and to continue with the great greenhouse program to grow starts for the farmstand as a learning project. They'd also like a better compost system.


According to Susan Lee (one of the early founders of the Fernwood school garden), the true test of the ‘sustainability' of any school garden program is whether it has produced caring, thoughtful children who have the knowledge and skills they need to grow a garden. The school has tried all sorts of things to get as many students planting as possible, including student and parent leaders in the garden with varying degrees of success. Teacher Andy McPhee coordinates garden activities and has developed all sorts of great curriculum and guidance. His class is the most involved, and other classes use the space for specific projects.

In the gardens, kids munch on the various greens including lacinato kale, green kale, red russian kale, lettuce, and spinach as well as cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Students love eating the native Salmonberries that grow around the perimeter of the garden.  


Composting has been contentious in the past because of the potential for rats moving in. Some classes dump the compost by themselves. The chickens were removed because of this reason.


The school district maintenance staff (the people who help to maintain the buildings so they are safe and in good working order) consider gardens to be solely a PAC responsibility. It would be helpful to hire a garden coordinator, either as a paid position or with some sort of stipend/honorarium. This person would coordinate between teachers, parents and the PAC, facilitate visioning, fund raising for garden materials/upkeep, initiate partnerships with community organizations, etc.


Principal Kelda Logan can be reached at SSE: (250) 537-9332 and

The Fernwood PAC (Parents Advisory Committee) email is

Teacher Andrew McPhee ( ) is the lead contact for the garden. 

The school website is:

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