SPEC School Gardens Program
Food gardens at schools are where kids learn about how the sun, water and soil connect with plants, people and our planet.
What we do?
Our goal is simple: connect children to their food, to each other, to nature and to their community.
Started by SPEC volunteers in 2008, the SPEC School Gardens Program brings food gardens and food education to 12 schools in Vancouver.
School children learn about food security and how to grow their own organic fruits and veggies, while teachers learn to incorporate fun and thought provoking agricultural topics into their curriculum. Discussing food issues has proven to be a powerful way to engage children in various science, social studies, math, and health and nutrition topics already written into the BC curriculum.
In 2015, SPEC published a garden curriculum package, named "Green Thumbs at School: SPEC Food Garden Lesson Book”
, comprised of 9 lesson plans for teachers, activity sheets, and 12 colourful posters. The lessons teach children about soils, worms, composting, how seeds travel, seed saving, leaves and how they work, flowers and pollinators, insects in the garden, and planning and designing food gardens. The lessons support the BC Ministry of Education Integrated Resource Package (IRP) Guidelines for Science. The package can be accessed for free here
. These lesson plans will be used by SPEC educators to continue delivering high quality lessons to partnering schools, as well as accessible via the internet and in print to teachers and other organizations to use to deliver similar lessons in other classrooms in Vancouver and beyond. SPEC's School Gardens Program is linked to the new BC Curriculum K to 7 Science Area of Learning
and Core Competencies
The development of the Green Thumbs at School lesson book was made possible by funding provided by the Vancouver Foundation
School Gardens Program Coordinator
The SchoolsWe helped establish organic food gardens and/or support food literacy at Bayview Community School, Britannia Secondary, Carnarvon Elementary, General Brock Elementary, Henry Hudson Elementary School, John Norquay Elementary, Kitsilano Secondary School, L'Ecole Bilingue, Queen Elizabeth Elementary, Sir Wilfred Grenfell Community School and Thunderbird Elementary, and Tillicum Community Annex School.
There is a growing demand from teachers, parents and schools to get involved in the program. Our challenge is to obtain the necessary funding to cover lesson expenses as well as expenses related to garden materials and tools.
View SPEC School Gardens Projects in a larger map
This program is primarily funded by:
- West Coast Seeds,
- Vancouver Foundation,
- Think & Eat Green @ School,
- SPEC individual donors,
- School Parents,
- Millard and Gow-Jarrett Family
- Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
- Lululemon Athletica,
- Whole Foods Market,
- TD Friends of the Environment Foundation,
- Home Depot,
- Gaia Green,
- BC Hydro
- BC Gaming Community Grant,
- Acme Delivery Company
Testimonials & Thank-You Letters
Starting a School Garden
Looking to start an organic school food garden or new ideas for your existing project?
- SPEC's School Gardens Start Up Guide
NEW!! Consultations Available.SPEC now offers consultations for existing or planned school food gardens and orchards. The consultation consists of an on-site visit to discuss and determine best garden locations, aspect, water sources, planting schedule, best suited fruit and vegetable varieties, composting systems, materials sourcing, maintenance planning and funding sources. For existing gardens recommendations will be made for improvements and possible expansion. A follow-up written report will also be included. Fees are based on a sliding scale and funding might be available, though limited, to support lower income schools. Please contact us for more information.
- Other resources: