Living classroom feeds a school and teaches the students
At harvest time at Knowlton Academy in the Eastern Townships, students at the school pick produce as part of a living garden classroom they grew themselves.
"They're learning about science and they're learning about bugs and composting and soil," said garden program coordinator Jennifer Muir.
The students plant potatoes, onions, zucchinis, beans and other produce, so they can learn the harvesting, drying and replanting process.
Children, teachers and parents are involved in every aspect of the garden.
"I love picking the vegetables and after, trying them," said 11-year-old Isabel Marks. "It's like, 'wow. I actually planted these, and made this.'"
The garden has been producing food for three years and runs almost entirely on donations from the community. It's surrounded by an eight-foot fence to keep deer out, and there's an outdoor kitchen for preparing snacks.
The garden is part of the school curriculum and produces enough food to feed the students at recess and supply vegetables for the school's cafeteria lunches, as well as provide donations to the greater community.
"They're learning about healthy living. They're learning about what are healthy choices when they're eating, and they're also learning how to get along, how to work together," said teacher Sheila Perry.
The garden also provides a place of quiet for students wanting to get out of the noisy halls at the school.
"I find it's really relaxing to be here. It's calm and nice," said Marks, who enjoys sketching in the garden.