Students at Ruth King Elementary School in Langford got their hands dirty on Thursday as they built a learning garden on the school’s grounds.
Thanks to a grant from Captain Planet Foundation in partnership with Dole Packaged Foods and Quality Foods, the school received tools, funding and education to install a garden filled with edible plants such as kale, beets and herbs. The school will also receive lessons and activities for students and a mobile cooking cart so students can not only grow food but enjoy it too.
“What better way to learn about fruits and vegetables than to actually grow them and harvest them,” said Marty Ordman of Dole Packaged Foods. “It’s really important that kids develop good eating habits at a young age, get exposed to the right foods and the learning garden is a great way to experience that.”
Students at Ruth King Elementary will be able to use the learning garden as a multidisciplinary tool, incorporating subjects such as science, math and social studies into their time spent by the garden.
On Thursday, students from three different grades built five raised garden beds, laid down soil and planted their vegetables to get the garden started. Vicki Ives, principal of Ruth King Elementary, said she hopes to add more garden beds and eventually a greenhouse on the school property.
“It’s a great educational opportunity,” Ives said.
Students will be able to expand their palates, taste-test healthy foods and learn about where their food comes from – something that Tasha Gomes, manager of Project Learning Garden with the Captain Planet Foundation – said empowers them to make healthy food choices.
“Our mission at Captain Planet is to empower young people to take charge and make decisions for the benefit and health of their environment and their community,” Gomes said. “Having a school garden that they can work in directly gives them a sense of empowerment to make a difference.”
Ruth King Elementary is the first school in Canada to receive a grant from Captain Planet Foundation and Dole Packaged Foods for a learning garden. Ordman said he hopes to expand to even more schools in Canada in the future.