Started by SPEC volunteers in 2008, the SPEC School Gardens Program brings food gardens and food education to 11 different schools across Vancouver.
Our goal is simple: to connect children to their food, to each other, to nature, and to their community.
The School Garden Program provides the opportunity for students to 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.
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Classes are involved with the School Gardens Program for the duration of the school year, and cover topics such as 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.
We helped establish organic food gardens and/or support food literacy at:
|Bayview Community School
General Brock Elementary
Henry Hudson Elementary School
|John Norquay Elementary
Kitsilano Secondary School
Simon Fraser Elementary
|Queen Elizabeth Elementary
Sir Wilfred Grenfell Community School
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.
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. 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. A number of these lessons have been translated to French and you can find them here (Lesson 3, lesson 7 and lesson 9).
The development of the Green Thumbs at School lesson book was made possible by funding provided by the Vancouver Foundation.
This program is primarily funded by:
|Acme Delivery Company|
BC Gaming Community Grant
Canada Summer Jobs
Canadian Tire (Bentall)
Gow-Jarrett and Millard Family
|Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics|
SPEC individual donors
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
Think & Eat Green @ School
|UBC Botanical Garden|
West Coast Seeds
Whole Foods Market
Looking to start an organic school food garden or new ideas for your existing project? Check out SPEC's School Gardens Start Up Guide.
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.
School Gardens Program Coordinator
Nikoo Boroumand - email@example.com