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General News · 22nd June 2013
Laura Ellingsen
We would like to thank the Cortes Community for all the support we have received in building our school garden for the garden-to-hot-lunch-program this spring. The garden is beautiful and thriving and we have a school full of great gardeners. Every student in the school from K to 10 has been in the garden every week since March. The students have been integral at every stage from building the infrastructure, to amending and creating soil, to planting, to installing the irrigation system and harvesting. They all have a lot to be proud of.
The garden-to-hot-lunch program runs all day once a week, one group following the other. The students from K-10 are responsible for the garden’s continued care in the weekly garden sessions, which we started in March before spring break. Brent, Laura, and Claudia are in the garden with the students every week, as well as other parent and grandparent volunteers when they get the chance. The students have created soil, filled the beds, planted and mulched the garden. They have planted pear trees, raspberries, strawberries, arctic kiwis, celery, peas, carrots, radish, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, and cauliflower in the garden and have made a large manure/straw compost. The students also tended light trays in the school earlier this spring for starting tomatoes, celery, lettuce, and winter cabbage.
This June they are harvesting peas, radishes, lettuce, and strawberries for classroom snacking. We have even included a small market gardening component and the students have been able to sell some of their abundant gargantuan lettuce to the Co-op and the Cortes Market! The remaining large amount of lettuce is earmarked for our year-end family celebration salads.
Also this June, the school gardens were part of the Museum Garden Tour. The students hosted all those visiting with guided tours of their three garden areas (the front entry garden with a water feature and deer resistant plants, the K-2 round garden planted with the ingredients for stone soup and apple trees for fall apple juice, and the hot lunch garden).
Over the summer the hot lunch sustainability garden will be growing tomatoes, celery, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, and cauliflower for hot lunches next fall. In order to keep the garden alive and happy over the summer the students, parents, grandparents, and community volunteers have installed an automatic drip irrigation system. The kids are positive, curious, inspired and hard working in the garden and have made this project happen!
We would like to thank all our funding sources and the great donations of time, energy and supplies we have had from community members. We now have funding for our next garden building stages which will be tackled next fall, including a greenhouse to run the program through the winter and early spring. We have been able to build the basic infrastructure for the first phase of the garden this spring through generous donations by the Quadra Legacy Fund and many local suppliers (donating machine time, lumber, manures, soil, berries, organic fertilizers, and hay mulch). Additionally, we have had over 75 community members donate time and skills during the work bees for the initial infrastructure construction and irrigation installation. We have received funding through the FOCI Youth Initiatives Grant for a greenhouse, which we will install this fall and partial funding for a sustainable drip irrigation system which we installed early this week. Through Toyota Evergreen and the Regional District Grant-in-Aid we have been able to purchase tools for the students and the remainder of our irrigation system.
Thank you again to all who have helped make this project come to life. It will serve this community and its children well into the future.
Thank you,
Cortes Island School and PAC