Understanding where food comes from and learning the process of growing food is a skill that most people should have. The Community Food Hub along with staff from LGH Health Promotion and Primary Health Care, have been running a seedling program with the Grade 4 students at Queen of Peace Middle School in Happy Valley Goose Bay. The whole program is based on the idea that growing and eating local foods will help expand your palate. There is also strong evidence to support that children involved in giving and nurturing food will perform better in school and all other activities
In March the program began; the students were educated on what a plant needs to grow and what foods can be grown in Labrador. Each student planted 2 cell packs of seeds and helped nurture them, at grow stations, until they are ready to plant in the Children’s Community Garden.
A view of the community garden
Towards the end of June all the grade 4 students traveled to the garden (located behind the E.J. Broomfield Memorial Arena) and transplanted their seedlings into the community garden and greenhouse. Students then had an opportunity throughout the summer to visit the garden, and help with the watering. This year we have also expanded to include children in the Summer Recreation program to help with maintenance of the garden, some of whom were past participants of the program.
In the fall, the students who are now in grade 5 will return to the garden to help with the harvest. Each student will be given the opportunity to prepare a healthy meal at school using the vegetables they have grown, for many it is the first time they have held a sharp knife. Usually we make soup and a salad which is then served to the whole school. After all, the goal of this program is to get students interested in gardening or farming and to encourage healthy eating by growing their own food.
Submitted by Karen Goudie, Community Food Hub