UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

HISTORY
Many efforts over time.
DESIGN
Infrastructure & layout.
LEARNING
Student Experiences & Activities
PARTNERS
Volunteers & Community.
DONORS
Funders & Supporters.
INSIGHTS
Lessons Learned.
FUTURE
What's Next?
EVENTS
Annual & Upcoming.
CONTACTS
Garden Champions.
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Fernwood Elementary School Gardens 

HISTORY

The school garden was funded by the Fernwood PAC 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.

DESIGN

The fenced area of the garden includes several planting beds and hugel beds, with a seating area and a garden shed (filled with several useful tools) at the back of the garden. There is a separate greenhouse that is attached to the school building. The garden trellis needs some serious maintenance and there is also a plan to work on water catchment. All classes at Fernwood have doors to the exterior so the garden area is very accessible. There is a garden wagon that can be filled with potting soil and allows for indoor/outdoor options for gardening activities.

 

We worked on soil building to increase yield (hugelkulture beds loaded with organic material, cover crops/fallow beds, and mulching). Fava beans, snow peas, carrots, strawberries, potatoes, garlic, kale were planted.

LEARNING

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. All ages of students use the gardens but not all classes. Two of the classes are currently most active in the garden. 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 have been eating the native Salmonberries that grow around the perimeter of the garden.  

 

A Garden Parent Mentorship Group was formed (in 2015?). The current parent mentorship program includes a gardening and theatre group that is coordinated by Megan (a parent) and Erika (a teacher). Students have had opportunities to learn about where their food comes from, prepare it and be responsible for their own health by choosing healthy alternatives.

 

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

PARTNERS

When Kelda (the current principle) first arrived at the school, there were only 4 teachers and none of them were interested or knowledgable about gardening.  She reached out to the garden club in the community and ended up with a community mentor who established a club here after school 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, occasional garden meetings are coordinated between interested teachers/classes/parents that further reinforce 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 (fund raising 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.

 

The road-side farmstand is used to sell veggie starts, eggs by the dozen and flower baskets cover costs like seeds, fertilizer, compost, greenhouse equipment and more. As part of the parent mentorship program, students take turns being Farmstand Managers with designated tasks. This has been quite successful and unanticipated.

DONORS

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

INSIGHTS

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. More parents have expressed interest in the garden and there was a successful garden work party this past fall, such as to clean up the garden shed. There is a current recognition that fostering a food culture is a slow process (similar to the principles of permaculture).

 

One idea is to find a way 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.

EVENTS

Under construction.

FUTURE

Under construction.

CONTACTS

Principal Kelda Logan can be reached at SSE: (250) 537-9332 and klogan@sd64.org​

Members of the 2019-2010 PAC Executive are: Samantha Chamberlin, Erin Lee and Heather Kazakoff. The PAC email is fernwoodpac@sd64.bc.ca

In 2018-19, teacher Erika Verlinden coordinated the Garden Project (everlinden@sd64.bc.ca) with fellow teacher Andrew McPhee (amcphee@sd64.org ) and parent volunteer Megan. 

The school website is: http://fernwood.sd64.bc.ca/

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Seedlings for Sale

Week of May 7th, 2018

Buy seedlings at our market stand in front of the school to support the Fernwood Garden Program! 

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Website contact: Robin riverjenkinson<@>gmail.com