About Our Project
We strive to provide each and every school in the Waterloo Region with a school food garden. Our dream is to inspire other regions and other schools throughout Ontario, Canada, and the world to do the same.
Each time a student has the opportunity to play and work in a garden, they learn new skills through discovery-based learning. A garden opens up so many doors for curiosity, exploration, and community-building. When an educator has the opportunity to spend time in an outdoor classroom, we allow for creative education and provide students with real-world experience in nature.
When students are allowed the opportunity to grow their own food, they gain an appreciation for health and nutrition and increase their intake of healthy fruits and vegetables. We nurture healthy lifestyles and build healthy communities. We create communities rooted in collaboration, participation, and education. This is truly a community project, where many hands (large or small) make light work.
2020 - a pivotal time to grow!
This year has brought us many unexpected events, endeavours, and opportunities. After an uncertain start to the season, we have been able to move forward with several exciting new projects, including a shift to online resources for youth. We are delighted to announce the launch of our new online Youth Portal! Here, students are able to find videos, activities, and resources related to topics such as indoor growing, climate change, food & nutrition, pollinators and lots of fun arts & crafts. This portal was created to support students’ learning while the education system continues to evolve. Our resources for this portal will continue to evolve and grow as we learn along with you. We are grateful for the support of the Canada Summer Jobs program for allowing us to have a team of talented youth to help make this happen!
We anticipate a grand total of 15 garden builds this fall, bringing our total up to 40! This was our target goal for the 2020-2021 school year, and we would not have made it without the support of our community and our sponsors. Thank you to Seeds of Diversity and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, in particular, for their ongoing support.
Much of what we do would not be possible without our wonderful and generous community. We have fostered many new relationships over the past year, and aim to continue expanding our horizons as we further develop as a strong and collaborative community organization. Your support helps ensure that our project continues to provide outdoor education resources and opportunities to an ever-growing number of students and schools.
2019 and into the future – Growing up, and up, and up!
With the success of obtaining the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, we can grow our project to new heights! This spring, we finished a total of 13 gardens – propelling us forward towards our grand total of 40 gardens by 2021. In addition, we aim to continue our annual Teachers Workshop and Conference, and (perhaps our most ambitious and highly-anticipated objective) support a newly developed youth-led farmer’s market.
Follow us on social media for updates, important grant opportunities, and you can always support us here to ensure our project remains sustainable and ever-present in the community. We thank you for all your support and interest in making sure students have access to grow fresh, healthy food.
2018 – Planting and Cultivating: Finding Community Partnerships
The effort put in this year sowed many rewards. We hosted our first annual Teachers Workshop and Conference to promote and support school food gardens. Additionally, we partnered with Your Neighbourhood Credit Union for a garden at Silverheights P.S in Hespeler. In total, we were able to build 5 more gardens with the help of 48 more volunteers.
The goal of this year was to find strong connections in our community. Each build was possible through volunteer construction, student participation, and local business involvement. Our garden frames were constructed by secondary school students, we sourced our supplies from local businesses, and we collaborated with other non-profit organizations. There is always a place for our volunteers and community members to contribute!
2017 – Healthy Communities, Healthy Kids
Thanks to the incredible partnerships between Seeds of Diversity and the Waterloo Region Community Garden Network, we were able to build 7 new school gardens in the Waterloo Region. We are grateful to have received the Healthy Kids Community Challenge (Region of Waterloo) grant to fund this incredible endeavour. Approximately 67 volunteers participated in the builds, which included supporting school staff, parents, students, and members of the community. In addition, our friends at Grand River Food Forestry built a pollinator and edible food fedge on the perimeter of our Empire P.S. garden.
This inaugural phase of the WR School Food Gardens project set the stage for what we could accomplish as a community, and we plan to continue to grow, grow, grow!