The Mobile Garden Project

The groundhog has spoken, it will soon be the gardening season and it is time to think about our mobile school/community gardens. This year our project is expanding to two elementary schools on the Westside and we are looking for your support.

Sponsorship in 2017 was provided by The Telus Ambassadors (major financial contribution for wagons), Crowe McKay (financial for soil), Independent Foods (soil, seeds, stakes, plants and watering cans) Princess Auto (significantly discounted wagon purchases), Art Knapp (seeds), Katelin Mitchel (manure) and The City of Kelowna (fertilizer).

Vision

The initial vision of the group at Pearson Road was to develop a garden to serve the school and community. A place to create educational opportunities especially in science and literacy. The Mobile Garden ProjectA place to provide opportunities for leadership and sustainability. The vision is one of generations and cultures working together in a hands-on way, creating a community space with chairs and a meeting area. The group would like to see a space currently used partially for bike storage be repurposed to develop the garden. The garden space is an unloved piece of land, which is right at the front of the school.

This Vision has evolved recently from a sustainable vegetable, fruit and flower garden to a Xeriscape space that does not require the expense of frequent watering. The school does not have any trees on the grounds and the vision is now one of increasing the biodiversity of the property and providing some shade over the playground to keep the metal structures cooler on hot sunny days. Some days the playground has to be closed as the structures are too hot to play on. The addition of some trees will also add to the educational capacity of the field space.

History

The project was established by Pearson Road Elementary School, Pearson Road Strong Start Program, Pearson Road PAC, The Central Okanagan Family Hub and several community members.

The dream of having some form of a school garden at Pearson Elementary School has been around for some time. On September 8th, 2016, a number of interested individuals came together to discuss their ideas and develop a strategy to make this dream become a reality. When the group were faced with raising a large amount of money ($20,000) to clear a space and providing irrigation for the garden the group went back to the drawing board and came up with a different plan.

Mobile Gardens

At a cost of approximately $1500 dollars, the group developed a fleet of 10 container gardens which were distributed among the classes at PRE. The Mobile Garden ProjectThe students learned about soil composition, soil organisms, and drainage while they loaded their containers under the supervision of the Garden Stewards (A Grade 3 class) who took on a leadership and guardianship role. Local community gardeners helped the students plant seeds and begin the watering process then the students and nature took over. The students wheeled the gardens outside every day to take in the sunshine, watered the seeds with watering cans and then wheeled them back in at the end of the day to secure them for the night. There was a variety of educational projects carried out as the crops grew and in some cases failed. One class initiated a scarecrow project to keep the birds away and some classes were able to secure lighting to keep the plants lit over the weekends. Unfortunately, the planters cannot be left outside over weekends due to the risk of vandalism. One planter was left for one night out at Pearson Road last year and it was destroyed.

Success & Growing Pains

The mobile gardens created a number of successful educational, experiential and cultural outcomes. The production of crops, however, was somewhat limited due to poor weather, drainage and watering issues, and the fact that most weekends the plants were not exposed to enough sunlight. Despite this, there was generally a positive association for the students and staff with the growing project. The project is adapting the containers to increase the success rate for the plants.

Expansion (Year 2)

Due to the popularity of the project the mobile garden project is hoping to expand to 2 new schools this year.

Materials Required

Pearson Road Elementary: Smaller containers, soil, drainage material, fertilizer, manure, seeds, seedlings, trees.

Rose Valley Elementary: 17 wagons, containers, watering cans, soil, drainage material, fertilizer, manure, seeds, seedlings, drought tolerant plant seedlings.

Hudson Road Elementary: 6 wagons, containers, watering cans, soil, drainage material, fertilizer, manure, seeds, seedlings.

Time & Expertise

Vegetable photoPearson Road Elementary
  • Delivering materials
  • Soil composition with students
  • Planting with students.
  • Digging holes and planting trees

Rose Valley Elementary
  • Delivering materials
  • Soil composition with students
  • Planting with students.

Hudson Road Elementary
  • Delivering materials
  • Soil composition with students
  • Planting with students.
  • Digging holes and planting trees

Other Requirements
  • Any publicity you are able to provide for the project
  • Crop specifics: Beans, Peas, Corn, Tomatoes
  • We are hoping to have the wagons and dirt delivered to schools for the week beginning March 12th (before spring break)
  • We are hoping to start planting with classes the week of April 2nd (after spring break)
  • March 12th is National plant a flower day!

Contact Information

Rich Chapman, The Family Hub at Pearson Road
250.317.0143, ac.hfocnull@hcir

Nadine Seiver, Rose Valley Elementary School
ac.cb.32dsnull@reveis.enidan

Brady Holland, Hudson Road Elementary School
ac.cb.32dsnull@dnalloh.ydarb

Thank you in advance for any help you are able to provide.
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