Four groups, including classes of Grade 3, 6, 8 and 10 students, participated in the Little Green Thumbs program, which worked alongside the Agriculture in the Classroom initiative. Students began growing in the classroom earlier this year, and recently held a harvest day event so students could reap what they sowed.
The program mixed fun with education for Grade 8 student, Kyle Manuel.
“I thought it was really good. There was a lot of stuff involved with doing it,” said Manuel. “We spent a lot of time at it, and I liked when we harvested what we grew.”
Getting to enjoy a healthy meal prepared with ingredients grown in the classroom gave him a better appreciation of his efforts, and what it means to grow food, explained Manuel.
For Grade 10 student, Jesse Geange, the classroom grow effort sparked an interest in farming, and provided him with the skills to grow his own food.
“It was great and absolutely amazing,” said Geange. “We were there in biology class, and we could just go to the back of the classroom and our teacher could just point out everything right there. It was a real hands-on biology experience.”
Echoing Manuel’s comments, Geange said getting to eat what was grown was a rewarding experience.
“It made me realize more because I could physically see what we were learning. It was all right there in front of us. It was all fun too, you know, getting to learn how to look out to a plant. Then we got to it, and that’s all fun too, so it’s great.”
The learning aspect of the program was a big hit with the Grade 10 student.
“The educational purpose was definitely the highlight for me because it helped me to learn a lot more than I thought I would. I understand now what it takes to keep a plant up, and how it all works.”
Jackie Wright, teacher sponsor for the high school group, said it was a great opportunity for not only the students to learn about agriculture, but teachers as well.
“That the kids learned where their food comes from would be the main thing, and learning how to take care of a garden. I bring it home now to my kids because I have an interest in it,” said Wright.
Bill Bradbury is one of the teachers responsible for bringing the Little Green Thumbs program to Lakewood Academy. The classroom grow initiative was a huge success, he said, and he looks forward to continuing with the program next year as new groups of students prepare to get their hands dirty.
“The big thing now with us is trying to change eating habits, promoting healthy living, and things like that. We want to make kids aware that there are choices. This a great time for this initiative because kids coming up now are becoming more responsible in terms of environmental issues, the importance of where food comes from and looking at labels,” said Bradbury.
Members of the 91 CEF reserves came in towards the end of the school year to help with the construction of an outdoor garden. The garden has raised beds, which school staff plans to make available next year to different groups in the community such as seniors and other user groups.