Growing food in the classroom with the Tower Garden

Happy New (and snowy) New Year to you all! While our gardens are buried under all this pretty white stuff, we can still grow delicious, fresh food for ourselves indoors, even if it’s just a pot of herbs on the windowsill (my basil is still going strong!).

Another method of indoor food production is the Tower Garden, which uses liquid nutrients to grow plants vertically, under lights. The resulting greens are nutritious and tasty, with lots of varieties available.

Grade 6 Edgehill Elementary students, Arwen and Lowell, have taken charge of assembling and maintaining a Tower Garden that was donated to the school last year, and recently sent along some photos and a report on how things are going. It looks like they are doing a wonderful job of stewarding this fresh food project for the whole school – well done Lowell and Arwen!

If you have any questions or are interested in having a Tower Garden at your school, get in touch!

And that’s it for another school year!

It’s been a busy few months for Landed Learning in SD47 school gardens, with all kinds of fun activities happening to make the most of the spring growing season. Some highlights:

At Edgehill, we wrapped up a wonderful year with Ms. Harrison’s class, and celebrated with a delicious (and colourful) meal prepared mainly with food that students and volunteers had grown. The pride and amazement that many students experienced as they harvested, prepped and ate their beautiful salad can probably best be summed up by one comment: “I kinda knew the seeds we planted would grow, but I never thought they would grow THIS much!”.

At Kelly Creek, Ms Murray’s class made wildflower seed balls and planted a patch for pollinators. We are looking forward to seeing the flowers grow and the bees buzzing!

At Westview, Ms Hoekstra’s class picked and enjoyed hand salads from the crops they grew from seed. We love seeing normally veggie-averse kids happily munching on freshly picked greens and then asking for more, especially when their enjoyment is clearly matched by their pride 😊.

For their support and involvement in all these activities, and many more throughout the year, our thanks to Springtime Garden Centre, Mother Nature Garden Home & Pet, Landed Learning volunteers, SD47 staff and all the students who participated. It was a challenging time for everyone, but you all kept things growing beautifully!

The Landed Learning @ School garden-based education program will continue in September, with a variety of volunteer opportunities available. If you are interested in getting involved (from a couple of hours of watering, to becoming a Garden Friend), please get in touch.

Happy Summer!

Vermicomposting in the classroom

Worms, lov-er-ly worms!! Mr Gee’s Grade 4 class at Westview Elementary worked hard last week to put together three worm houses for their classroom, which will help them make rich, fertile compost for the school garden.

With donations of coffee grounds from River City Coffee Roasters, Bakery and Urban Eatery and local horse manure, mixed up with decomposing leaves and shredded egg cartons, we made cozy homes for three pounds of red wiggler worms. Did you know that red wiggler worms have five hearts and breathe through their skin? And that they can eat half their body weight in food each day? (Wish I could do that 😁.). What amazing animals!

Get in touch if you’re an SD47 teacher who’d like to start a worm composting set-up in your class. It’s simple (and not smelly or messy as people sometimes assume), and provides fantastic learning and care-taking opportunities for your students.

The gardens have been put to bed and it’s time for a holiday!

Like everyone else, we’ve had a…let’s say…unusual few months at Landed Learning, but along with the challenges, it has also been full of discovery and fun in school gardens and kitchens across the District.

Thank you to the students, teachers and other school staff who’ve participated so enthusiastically, and a special thanks to the wonderful volunteers and community businesses who generously support the program.

We wish you a cosy and peaceful holiday, and we’ll see you on the other side of 2020! 😊🌱.

Landed Learning @ School is back!

The Landed Learning @ School program is ready to go with a new round of garden-based learning workshops for the new school year.

Teachers of Grade 4/5 students are invited to participate in a series of seasonal, curriculum-linked sessions, using the school garden as an outdoor classroom. Sessions are facilitated by the Food Literacy Coordinator and all materials are supplied.

Please see the program outline here for more information and contact Vanessa Sparrow at to make a booking or with any questions you may have.

If you have another food literacy related topic in mind, custom sessions are also available, depending on capacity. Just ask and I’ll be happy to work with you to meet your teaching needs!

Assistance with buying seeds and other supplies, as well as general school garden management and maintenance support, is also available.

Now is the perfect time to take the learning outside!

Looking for volunteers!

LL@School Volunteer Flyer 2020-21

The Landed Learning program will be starting up again at elementary schools in September and is looking for a few more volunteers to join the fun. The exact format of activities will depend on the Ministry of Ed.’s decision about return levels (due in a week or so), but rest assured, we will be continuing to garden with kids, and would love to have you join us!

Message Vanessa via this page or at for more information.

Growing spuds in burlap sacks

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 11.37.10 AM

The Westview Elementary Landed Learning class have been busy planting seeds and continuing their garden-based learning at home. To support that, and give them something extra fun to do, we sent home potato growing kits in burlap sacks and made a video to help with getting started (featuring Freda the Dog). Check it out!

And if you want to try this at home (it’s easy!), here is our instruction sheet.

Thanks to Mother Nature, and Landed Learning volunteer Tracey Hudson, for generously donating seed potatoes. Thanks also to River City Coffee and 32 Lakes Coffee Roasters for supplying us with burlap sacks.

New activities to go with Growing Kits

How Tall is My Sunflower

Nearly two hundred Growing Kits have been sent home to families in the past two weeks (whew!), which means lots of pea and sunflower seeds are being excitedly planted right about now.

To add to the fun and keep children engaged in the process of observing and learning from their growing seedlings, here are a few activities and resources for you to try out:

1. How Tall is My Sunflower? (all grades): a colourful chart for recording the growth of a sunflower plant once it has emerged from the ground.

2. Sprouting Peas in a Jar  (all grades): a fun and easy way to observe part of a seed and the germination process.

3. Sunflower Facts (all grades): a sheet of interesting facts about sunflowers.

4. My Plant Journal (K-3): a booklet for students to document what is happening to their seedlings.

5. My Pollinator Journal (4-7, from Kids Gardening): an informative and engaging journal for observing and learning about pollinators in the garden

Learning at Home with Food

The Food Literacy Program would like to support teachers, parents and students as much as possible during this period of learning from home. We know you are juggling a lot of things right now, and definitely don’t want to add to the pressure, but we have made a list of seven easy steps to engaging children in food-based learning via cooking and gardening, with links to activities and resources.

We are also providing “growing kits” to each family with elementary school aged children. These consist of a few sunflower and pea seeds, a container filled with potting mix and planting instructions to get started. They can be picked up at schools (contact your teacher or principal to confirm). If you need extra supples, let us know via the Contact page. Stay well and happy planting!

Learning at Home With Food FINAL

Bee Happy Seed Balls!


We had so much fun making Bee Happy Seed Balls at our Pollination Station for ECO at Edgehill School today! The theme was “Imagining a Green Future” and we helped students to do that by making lots of wildflower and sunflower seed balls to take back to their schools and plant in special “Wildflower Wild” areas. The idea is to grow flowers for bees and other pollinators, and it doesn’t hurt that they look beautiful too .

Many thanks to wonderful LL volunteers Tracey, Lorraine and Sherry for coming to help out and making it all run smoothly, and to Darlene at Dancing Tree Gallery for donating the clay. And of course, to the fabulous Karin for organizing this inspiring event!

Landed Learning @ School will be running more Bee Happy Seed Ball workshops for schools in March – get in touch if you are interested, and check out the Resources page on this website for info on how to make and grow your own wildflower seed balls.