Barriere Elementary kids learn about farm to school

School working with community garden so students can learn how to grow vegetables

Barriere Elementary teacher and garden program coordinator Val Williams gives grade 5 student James Celesta some tips on spring planting at the Barriere Community Garden.

Barriere Elementary teacher and garden program coordinator Val Williams gives grade 5 student James Celesta some tips on spring planting at the Barriere Community Garden.

The Barriere Community Garden looked somewhat like a playground recently, but the Elementary School students who were rushing around with gardening tools were there to work. The school has had a garden program on the curriculum for several years now, but this year it has been considerably expanded.

Elementary School Principal, Gordon Cumming,  says he met with Keira McPhee, Liz Gilbertson, and Ronda Buchanan to design the garden program in which the entire school will be involved.  An application for a ‘Farms To Schools Grant’ was made and $4,000 has been received.

Earlier this year the school also held a fundraiser selling vegetables  which brought in an additional $800.

“This money will be used in three or four areas,” said the principal.

Soil has already been bought to improve the garden soil, and the Foods Room in the school will be improved in several ways; plus a new fridge has already been purchased for it.

Cumming noted, “The grade 5 students are the champions of the program, and they have partnered up with Ms. Gilbertson who will instruct them on how to grow a garden.  Several other local gardening experts have also come on board to share their knowledge with the students and provide some hands-on help.”

During the summer, students and parents will take care of the garden and do the harvesting and preserving of the produce, which then will be used in the school’s lunch program.

Teacher Val Williams is the coordinator of the garden program, and says she is pleased about the energetic participation of the students; foreseeing a good harvest of homegrown vegetables destined to become healthy lunches.