School garden expands

It’s not uncommon to see kids at à cole Alberni Elementary School munching on kale chips for a recess snack in the winter, says the school principal.

Kale, the leafy green vegetable packed with nutrients, is grown as part of the Alberni Elementary School Garden Project, which is in its fourth year. The project’s coordinator is looking to expand to another school in the district this year.

Each class in the kindergarten to Grade 5 school plants a section of the gardens, built in the yard against the wall of the school. Garden plots are harvested the following year. Kale, in particular, grows well in cooler months and actually tastes sweeter after exposure to a frost.

“[Students] just go and help themselves,” said Alberni Elementary principal Laurie Morphet. “It really encourages healthy eating, and trying newer vegetables that you wouldn’t normally eat.”

Classes sign up for a garden plot and some are more enthusiastic than others, she added. Everyone is in charge of weeding at different times.

It teaches children to look after the environment, said Morphet.

The school has also introduced composting.

“We’ve got some mega composters now,” she said. “The kids are in charge of rotating it. They love to do that.”

Dirt produced by the compost is used to nourish the garden. Students enjoyed the fall harvest this month and planted seeds for the winter.

“They harvested two weeks ago for the open house and the kids made soup,” Morphet said.

Parents also got involved to put hay over the garden.

Heather Shobe, who owns and operates Eden Tree Farm and Gardening in Beaver Creek, also coordinates the Alberni Elementary School Garden Project.

Shobe sent a letter to the Alberni School District and spoke to the board at their Oct. 7 meeting.

Shobe said volunteers have carried out a great deal of management for the school gardens; more dedicated time and funding is required.

“We have successfully fundraised to create raised beds, install irrigation, obtain some required tools and are managing to continue to maintain the gardens through volunteer effort,” Shobe wrote in an email to the school board. “After four years, it is clear that a more comprehensive management plan is needed.” The Alberni Valley Transition Towns Society, which is a community-based network interested in promoting environmental education and initiatives, expressed interest in helping to fund a coordinator for the district, Shobe noted.

At $25 an hour for four hours per week, it would cost about $4,000 per year.

Shobe met with the parent advisory council of à cole E.J. Dunn Middle School.

Just Posted

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Ucluelet’s new mayor and council sworn in

“We represent boots on the ground.”

Ucluelet police urge caution on roads as winter nears

“It comes down to driving to the road conditions.”

Vancouver Island brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Victoria-based brewers said goodbye to confusing hexagon logo

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read