Garden Warriors

Garden Warriors

James Ardiel Elementary
  • Grade 2
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

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My students were given the opportunity to grow their own food in our newly created school raised garden bed. James Ardiel Elementary school is an inner city school in Surrey. Many students in the school eat breakfast at the Breakfast Club and/or are on the Lunch Program. As a school, we participate in the Fruits and Veggies program as well as the School Milk BC program. Many of the students in my class come with a lot of prepackaged and store prepared foods. By growing our own vegetables, students were able to see the vegetables grow from tiny plants into food. Students learned about what plants need in order to survive. They learned that we can grow vegetables in all seasons of the year, not only during the summer.  

Students worked in partners to plant either a swiss chard or a kale. They took ownership of this plant and would make sure that it was watered. They enjoyed showing the garden to their parents both before and after school. As our classroom faces the garden, students were able to watch out the window and see the plants during the week. We took regular visits to the garden to see if the plants needed to be watered. We were also able to observe the garden beds of other classes and see what they were growing. Students observed the location of the vegetable beds and the size of the plants and made observations about why some plants were growing faster than others (different types of plants, less/more sunlight, less/more water). 

As we planted in Mid-October, my students were concerned about how the frost and snow would affect our plants (we grew swiss chard and kale). Some of the other garden beds grew a variety of winter vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and swiss chard.  

We reflected on what we had learned before planting our vegetables and realized that the snow would act as an insulator and that our plants would be fine. Nevertheless, we harvested our vegetables the day before the first snow fall! To celebrate our success with growing vegetables, we made a salad. While eating their salad, students described what the food tasted like, with many students saying that it was yummy and sweet. My students are looking forward to what we can plant in the next growing season. They are brainstorming possible foods that they would like to grow, and we are researching when these plants can be planted.  

My students are interested in sharing what they grew with their families and many are curious about how they can grow food at home, perhaps in a container garden. Being able to grow some of their own food at home will help the environment as students will have access to fresh food at home instead of having to travel to the store to purchase food. They will also be purchasing less packaging, thereby decreasing the amount of garbage that they produce.