Kai Eversfield (left) and Robert Wallace Nicundano MacDonald working the farm stand. (Photo courtesy Leah Selzter)

Greater Victoria students help bring small-scale urban farming to community

The high school students presented their work at City Hall on Nov. 13

Students in the Greater Victoria school district participated in a small-scale urban agriculture project over the summer and were able to grow food, connect with the community and improve their mental health in the process.

The Seed the City project was open to all secondary students in the district. Thirteen students from Mount Douglas Secondary, Reynolds Secondary, Victoria High School and Esquimalt High School took part in the program and put in at least 100 hours each over the course of nine weeks.

The project was a partnership between School District 61 (SD61), LifeCycles and Topsoil, explained LifeCycles program manager Leah Seltzer.

LifeCycles has been operating in the Capital Regional District for over 25 years and seeks to develop communities that build, share and harvest food.

Seed the City emerged from a need to bring agriculture to schools and help students in high school learn about career paths associated with farming, Seltzer said.

READ ALSO: Match making service connects gardeners with plots

She worked closely with the students all summer teaching them about the many aspects of urban agriculture.

Students earned work experience credit through the program and spent their summer growing vegetables in the courtyard gardens at Reynolds Secondary and salad greens in the new, above-ground, micro-farm beds provided by Topsoil. The students also attended workshops and field trips and ran a stall at the Topsoil farmers’ market each week.

Seltzer pointed out that none of the students dropped out of the program and that many spoke of how much they enjoyed learning, eating healthy, being outside, connecting with their peers and building something that lasts. The garden remains on the school grounds and has provided fresh food used in the cafeteria throughout the fall.

On Nov. 13, the students presented at City Hall during a small-scale urban farming information session.

The program has given them several opportunities to become advocates for what they care about, Seltzer noted.

READ ALSO: Submissions open for 2020 Teeny Tiny Garden Tour

Seed the City exposed students to career paths in horticulture and sustainability which is the goal, according to District vice-principal Lindsay Johnson, who oversees the career path programs in SD61. Helping students figure out who they are and then find a career path that aligns with who they are while still in school is the district’s goal, she noted.

Many of the students who participated indicated a desire for a livelihood involved in making positive change, Seltzer said. Now, they know that farming isn’t just happening in rural areas and that they can combine life in the city with their passions for food-growing.

Seltzer and Johnson are hopeful the program will run again in the summer of 2020. For updates, visit the lifecyclesproject.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula plugs into EV ownership

Sidney and Central Saanich record the second and third-highest EV ownership rate per 1,000 residents

PHOTOS: Kids, parents cool off at Langford splash park

Centennial Park is home to a popular water feature

Colwood man to ride 400 kilometres to fight kids cancer

Man riding for a beloved family member who died from leukemia at 13-years-old

Saanich woman completes 10 marathons, raises double her initial goal amount

Over $20,000 raised for Victoria Hospitals Foundation

UPDATED: Missing 25-year-old Saanich woman found Saturday

Yuhan Jin thought to be travelling by foot or bus, carrying two suitcases

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Most Read