Activities & Method of Delivery
The Kids in the Garden program brings facilitators into schools to work with different classes, support a school’s garden, as well as build a culture and confidence around gardening and sustainable food awareness in the school environment. We lead seasonally-appropriate lessons with students from kindergarten to grade seven and integrate curriculum concepts to deepen learning.
Beyond our ten in-class sessions, we also provide schools with an aeroponic growing tower for students (and teachers!) to learn how to grow food indoors through the winter.
These sessions are a combination of new sessions which we think are integral to food systems learning, as well as lessons that we have been using for years that align with the BC curriculum. The Kids in the Garden curriculum guide was written in collaboration with teachers and administrators of SD38, Indigenous elders, and Urban Bounty staff. When planning our lessons, we take great care to promote inclusion of all learning needs and embody the First Peoples principles of learning. The lesson plans are available online as a resource for everyone. The 2021-2022 curriculum guide is currently being updated. Please see the 2019-2020 guide here for the time being.
2021-2022 Sessions Include:
1st Session: What’s Growing in Our Garden? This lesson focuses on understanding the present state of the garden, having a fall harvest, and preparing the garden for winter.
2nd Session: Mindful Eating. This lesson focuses on why it is important to have a local, low-impact, and sustainable lifestyle. Emphasis will be placed on eating mindfully. Food preparation is dependent on the school/COVID safety measures.
3rd Session: The Story of Seeds. This lesson will discuss the ‘lifecycle’ or story of seeds from germination to dispersal, and introduce concepts of seed saving.
4th Session: Worms – Soil’s Best Friend. This lesson covers the importance of worms and vermicomposting for soil health. We will learn how to identify different types of worms and do some fun worm activities.
5th Session: Unsung Heroes: Pollinators. This lesson will focus on mason bees and other pollinators, as well as their role within gardens and our food system.
6th Session: Grow Your Imagination. This lesson will focus its activities on planning the garden for spring and doing some indoor planting.
7th Session: N, P, K, Who? This lesson is all about soil health. The purpose is for children to understand the importance of healthy soil for current and future generations.
8th Session: Hidden Food Treasures, Not Weeds. This lesson will involve going on a nature walk near the school to learn about indigenous and edible plants in Richmond.
9th Session: The Humble Honey Bee. This lesson will involve going over the different roles of a honey bee and how honey is made. A live observation hive may be brought to the classroom/school garden.
10th Session: Harvest Celebration. Harvest, cook, celebrate our hard work and learning and share with our community.This will be a review of all that we went over throughout the school year. Some favourite activities will be repeated, the bike blender may be used, and children will have the chance to reflect on what they learned.
Summer Maintenance Program
In July and August, our staff can maintain the school gardens from Monday to Friday twice each week, if desired by the school. We offer this as part of the Kids in the Garden program. Students can come by on the select days to volunteer in the garden and partake in cooking and art activities as well. Parent attendance is mandatory. You can get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Good Food Machine
In addition to our ten sessions, students will be able to get involved with an innovative new technology: aeroponic growing towers. Several of our partner schools will receive an aeroponic growing tower, generously donated by our sponsor, LoyaltyOne, where students will be responsible for the management of the system and maintaining a healthy vertical garden from seed to plate.
Having a garden inside the classroom brings context to science and mathematics. It allows students to use their prediction, record-keeping and data analysis skills. By bringing these systems into schools, students not only see and eat the benefits of this technology but learn how to use it, from balancing pH to operating LED lights for growing.
With the majority of today’s population living in urban areas, growing food aeroponically is one of the many skills that can help prepare students for their future. Research has shown that aeroponic growing systems use 2% of the water, increase yields by 30%, and grow food up to three times faster than traditional growing methods. Due to the human impact on the climate, this may well be the way the food of the future is grown.
By having youth grow and cook their own food, they can experience first-hand how engaging with food and the community contributes to healthier people, community sustainability, and the environment overall. Though we will be teaching how to use the vertical gardens, students act as the primary caretakers, allowing them to take on accountability, responsibility, as well as gain teamwork skills as they work together towards the goal of growing good food.
The children of today are the adults of tomorrow, so how can we serve the children in our community to best prepare them for their future? We believe that providing students with opportunities to build their confidence, skills, and community connections is the key foundation of building a strong community in the long term. By using gardening as the means, students learn about environmentalism and food security. Studies have proven that those who spend more time in nature are more likely to care for the environment. Learning by doing allows students to create lifelong habits, values, and skills that can help them make healthier and more sustainable lifestyle choices for themselves, their community, and their environment.
Moreover, in the short term, students and parent volunteers are welcome to take home garden harvests. In this way, households can see an increase in access to healthy and local food.
The Kids in the Garden Program aims to adapt to the needs of all students involved. We work with EAs and teachers to understand the needs of individual students and the classroom overall.
Program Cost and Duration
The program fee is $3000 per school, per year, for ten sessions with three divisions participating. For schools who continue to support the Kids in the Garden Program, we offer a sliding scale discount after the first year. The fee would decrease by $500 each year to a minimum of $2000. We present this price discount option as a sliding scale to help schools that may have fewer donations to the PAC to help pay for this program.
For clarity: Year 1 – $3000, Year 2 – $2500, Year 3 – $2000, for consecutive years only.
The sessions take place approximately once/month for 70 minutes per session. We suggest that schools commit to 2 years of programming upon signing up as this allows the culture of environmental sustainability to embed itself as a natural extension of learning and gives more students an opportunity to experience the program. The program fee covers the facilitators contact time and some preparation time at schools. Urban Bounty covers the cost of planning, curriculum development, communications and updates with teachers and administrators. Urban Bounty also supplies our own teaching resources, such as seeds and seedlings and we include ingredients and supplies for any food preparation activity. Contact us to sign up!
Kids in the Garden History
The Kids in the Garden program was previously known as the Richmond Schoolyard Society, and was adopted into the Richmond Food Security Society in 2017 (now named Urban Bounty). The Schoolyard Society was a valued member of the Richmond community for many years, founded and run by food educator and chef Ian Lai (now Urban Bounty Executive Director), who has over thirteen years experience teaching food and garden programs with children. The program has grown and because of its success, Urban Bounty has hired a full-time Education Program Coordinator to organize and facilitate the program. The program has been sustainable thanks to our many community supporters and the program fee.
Kids in the Garden is fortunate to have many community partners behind it. We work closely with the Richmond Food Bank, Richmond School District, City of Richmond, and Vancouver Coastal Health. Other educational programs have allowed us to collaborate with other community partners: the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, The Sharing Farm, Richmond Public Library, Rotary, VanCity, TD Bank of Canada, Richmond Addiction Services Society, amongst other amazing community members and organizations.
Of course, we couldn’t do what we do without amazing teacher champions and administrative staff in schools who work tirelessly to give their students the best education.