Toronto District School Board
DA Morrison Middle School “Digs” Its New Farm

DA Morrison Middle School “Digs” Its New Farm

Thursday, June 04, 2015
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Students at DA Morrison Middle School have been busy digging up a corner of the school field to create an urban vegetable garden.  Inspired by the documentary “Starfish Throwers” about three remarkable individuals who work to help feed people in need, students wanted to create a vegetable garden at their own school.  What started as an idea has sprouted into reality.

Thanks to a grant from TD Friends of the Environment, the school received funding for the project.  A few years earlier, a butterfly garden with sitting rocks had been created for students to appreciate the outdoors and to experience working in a garden.  Extending this space to incorporate a vegetable garden seemed to be a good plan.  With the help of a workshop run by FoodShare and a visit from representatives from EcoSchools, students were given guidelines for the location, tips for preparing the ground, tips for planting, and most importantly, ideas for promoting healthy eating.

In the fall, students prepared the area by digging the ground, and covering it with tarps.  After a long, cold winter, the tarps were removed and preparation of the vegetable beds began.  Dead grass was removed, the ground was mulched, planters were placed in the ground, and bucket brigades of soil filled the planters. 

Throughout the year, the vegetable garden was used to make real-life curriculum connections.  As a part of the Water Systems Unit, students created models of innovative and sustainable watering systems for the garden.  As part of the Systems in Action unit, students examined the use of machines in the cultivation, harvesting, and preparation of food.  In Measurement and Geometry, the concepts of the properties of quadrilaterals and circles, and capacity were applied to designing the garden.  In Art class, the planters will be painted, and signage will be created.

Aside from the curriculum connections, the garden will provide many valuable life lessons.  For many of our students, this was their first experience working in a garden.  Spending time outdoors is a simple way to promote mental health.  By showing students where food comes from, and eating the tasty food they have grown, the hope is that they will make healthy food choices throughout their lives.

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