UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

Saturna Island School Gardens 

The Great Garlic Pull

First week of July

Everyone is invited to help pull ripe garlic, with competitions for the biggest head. Learn how to preserve and braid garlic from Al Stonehouse. 

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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.
CONTACT
Garden Champions.
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HISTORY

Steve Dunsmuir built the garden beds and deer fence with a parent in 1996. Neighbour and expert gardener, Al Stonehouse, helped from the beginning as well, mentoring several students. There are 25 beds and when Steve was the teacher, every student had a garden bed and they would harvest the veggies and create tasty snacks for one another. The goal was to connect kids with how to grow food and celebrate local foods.

Involvement in the garden waxes and wanes over the years, depending on teacher interest. Having an active community garden on the schoolgrounds connects the community with the students and school, and provides the kids a beautiful area full of veggies to explore. 

Here's a video telling the story: https://www.bcgreengames.ca/project/growing-saturna573

DESIGN

The community garden is deer-fenced and contains about 30 raised beds, a number of donated fruit trees, and water tanks and a rhubard patch outside the fence. Tools and wheelbarrows are kept available within the garden. There are two gates for easy access, one facing the school.

LEARNING

Right now, the Strongstart ELF preschool group maintains a garden bed of strawberries. In past years, students at the school have worked in the garden with mentors and grown veggies in additional beds with their teacher. 

Al organizes community workshops and events for the gardens, to which all ages are invited. 

PARTNERS

Community gardeners and coordinator, Al Stonehouse who lives across the street, maintain the garden year-round. Many people invested their time to establish the garden and it is well kept, full of thriving veggie patches and fruiting trees. 

DONORS

Interestingly, some families have donated beautiful fruit trees with plaques to remember their loved ones. These are planted in the corners of the garden and bring a sense of reverence and community connection to the place. 

INSIGHTS

Not all teachers have the time, resources, knowledge or experience to fully engage their students in the garden. While community members may be ready to mentor young gardeners, not all students are interested, either. 

There is a narrow flower garden bed in the front of the school, facing the playground, which seems to get more student attention, as it is filled with small fairy houses and playful trinkets. 

EVENTS

The Community Garden hosts various events throughout the year. Coming up in July 2018 is the great garlic pull, with competitions for the biggest bulbs and garlic braiding.

FUTURE

Depending on teacher interest, there may be more involvement in the gardens in coming years. Enrollment at the school (currently 6 students) is expected to increase, as there are a number of preschool-aged children on Saturna who will soon be ready for kindergarten.

CONTACTS

Principal Dan Sparanese at dsparanese@sd64.org, school website

School Board Trustee Chaya Katrensky can be reached at ckatrensky@sd64.org or (604) 836-8997. Former School Board Trustee, Susanne Middleditch was also involved. 

 

Strongstart ELF teacher, Barb Ropars may be reached at barbropars@gmail.com , and neighbour and community garden coordinator, Al Stonehouse may be reached by knocking on the door on the brown house just kittie-corner to the garden. 

SEEC Teacher Martin Anevich manevich@sd64.org or website

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Website contact: Robin riverjenkinson<@>gmail.com