At Maples Collegiate, we have developed an urban farm that consists of a vegetable garden plot, an enclosed courtyard that contains several separate raised beds as well as garden boxes where a variety of vegetables grow, and also two concrete raised boxes where we planted multiple indigenous plants local to the area. The care and implementation of this urban farm has come to fruition through the extra-curricular efforts of small group of teachers and students. At this point in time, the maintenance runs on a three day schedule during lunch, prep time, or before/after school. The individuals that have mainly took the lead with this duty has been the teachers, although students are beginning to take more ownership.
The purpose for this inquiry was to find ways to take the onus off of the teachers, and place the learning and responsibility on to the students. Although it was necessary for the teachers to acquire the resources to begin this project, it is now the time to transition from a teacher lead program to a student lead program. At this point the garden is being used to help students connect to nature, learn skills, etc etc…. As of now, we do not have any official examples of how garden-based learning “can bridge academic subjects in a way that not only imparts skills and content but also helps students understand why these skills are important and how they can be useful.” (Hirshi, 2015. P. 25-26)The way that we intend on gaining student traction is through an exploration of curriculum documents and the creation of lessons that will increase student interest, enhance food education, a promote student ownership and engagement that will lead to well-being for all.
On this website you will find six different lesson plans focusing on six separate courses. The purpose of these lessons to begin exploration into ways that the urban farm that we have created can be implemented in to classes on a regular basis, as opposed to limiting it to an extra-curricular activity. Perhaps one day we can find ways to implement lessons similar to these into all curriculum areas, but for these lessons act as a guide and as an exploration into possibilities that lie ahead. You will notice that our lessons typically