On a chilly, damp Thursday afternoon, a group of Grade 9s at Charles Hays Secondary School had a chance to get their hands dirty while learning how to grow and cultivate their own food.
The group of science students planted garlic in a garden dedicated to part of their science classes this term. The goal of the program is to give the students a real world look at the biological principals they are learning.
“We’re trying to get them involved in caring for things as well as giving back to the school,” said Melissa Bishop, the students’ teacher. “And at the same time sort of learning the science behind what we’re doing, the fertilizers that we use and the process of growth and reproduction of plants.”
Under the watchful eye of their teacher Bishop and their education assistant, Peter Nordvie, the students gathered and spread fertilizer before laying out rows where they would be planting. The garlic will grow through the winter before being harvested and taken to the school’s greenhouse where it will dry out before being sold in the spring and summer.
Bishop said that between 100 and 125 students participated in the program, planting carrots, beets, kale, potatoes, herbs, parsley, thyme, sage and Jerusalem artichokes in addition to garlic. Money raised from the produce sales will go to purchase seeds for next year’s planting.
“Lots of people excel with hands-on learning and giving them an opportunity to be successful with a different form of learning is something we try to push through in the entire curriculum and it’s a huge advantage that we get to do it within the science one,” Bishop said.