Upcoming Spring Workshops












It is hard to believe but it is that time of year again, when seed catalogues arrive and garden planning begins. The Landed Learning @ School Program is excited to offer you and your students a range of tried and tested garden-based learning activities and resources for the spring season. These offer great curriculum connections and are highly engaging for students.

Feb 18, 19 or 20
Planning to Plant (45-60 min in-class activity)
* Plan what to plant in the school garden, using specially developed worksheets for the Powell River region
* Plant seeds in home-made paper pots to observe and care for (can be taken home or planted in the school garden)
* Optional add-on: Mindful Tasting exercise, where students sample and rate an assortment of vegetables that can be grown at school, some of which they may never have tried before!

Mar 3, 4 or 5​
Making Bee Happy Seed Balls (45-60 min in-class activity)
* Learn about the importance of pollinators and ways we can attract them to our gardens
*Make seeds balls using a mix of insect-friendly flower seeds to plant at school or home
* Optional add-on: make a Bee Watering Station to go in the garden (outdoors)​

Mar 31, Apr 1 or 2
Caring for Living Things (45-60 min outdoor activity)
* Learn about what seedlings need to survive and how to plant for maximum success
* Transplant seedlings (supplied if necessary) into the garden
* Direct sow lettuce and other seeds that will be ready to harvest for a Celebration Salad before summer break!

Each activity is seasonally-based and available on three dates. You can choose to do one (e.g., Planning to Plant on Feb 20), or all three (e.g. Feb 20, followed by Seed Balls on Mar 3 and Living Things on Apr 2). All materials and post-activity resources are supplied. You just need to book a time for us to come!

Contact Vanessa at vanessa.sparrow@sd47.bc.ca

Landed Learning @ Westview kicks off!

We had a wonderful first day for Landed Learning at Westview School last week (and are thankful that the sun shone to help us get into the swing of things!)

The morning was all about curiosity and observation, and so our activities focused on identifying plants in the garden and mindful tasting of veggies in the kitchen. This was the first time that Garden Friends and students met, and it was pretty impressive how quickly they took to each other!

We are going to have a lot of fun this year…

Welcome back!

Landed Learning volunteers chat with teachers and Farmer Aaron over lunch in the garden at Westview School

A few updates for you to start the year:

  1. The Grants page has been updated. There are some great funding opportunities either available now or opening soon. Please contact me if you would like any help with these.
  2. The 2019-20 Landed Learning program is ready for launch! All elementary schools are being offered a Garden-based Learning Resource Package  to support them with using school gardens to provide hands-on, cross-curricular learning. There is no cost to schools, and activities can be tailored to suit specific interests and needs.
  3. We have had a fantastic response to our call-out for volunteers for the LL program taking place at Westview Elementary. On August 27, 12 volunteers got together with program staff, teachers and a local farmer to enjoy lunch in the school garden and get to know each other. It’s a great group and we’re really excited to be working with them! If you are interested in participating, we have room for 1 or 2 more…please contact Vanessa Sparrow at: vanessa.sparrow@sd47.bc.ca for details.


Help our kids to grow!

intergenerational gardening at UBC

Be part of an exciting new hands-on food literacy program for Powell River elementary students!

LandedLearning@School is a garden-based, immersive education program that will be starting in September, 2019.

LL@School works by partnering adults of all ages – known as Garden Friends – with small groups of Grade 4 and 5 students, who then grow, harvest, prepare and eat food together at school. Children get to learn food growing and cooking skills, and experience teamwork and a sense of stewardship, all while having fun and exploring in the garden.

Twelve seasonally-based morning sessions take place over the school year (usually two a month), including two at a local farm, culminating in a celebratory harvest meal of foods grown and prepared together.

We are currently looking for volunteer Garden Friends to work with students at Westview Elementary, on twelve Wednesday or Thursday mornings, starting late September (exact dates are still to be finalized with teachers). While gardening experience is a great asset, it is not required; the most important attributes for Garden Friends are a sense of enthusiasm for and commitment to teaming up with kids in an outdoor setting. As well as people able to commit to all twelve program days, we are also looking for some folk who can fill in where needed.

Making sure volunteers are well-supported and also having fun is a key feature of this program! Training is provided (a half-day session in mid-September) and each program day includes opportunities for volunteers to talk about their experiences, ask questions and give feedback. As with any school program, a free Criminal Record Check needs to be successfully completed in order to participate.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, or if you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you! Contact Vanessa at: vanessa.sparrow@sd47.bc.ca or on 604-414-7437.

Spring workshops in full swing

If you are hoping to plant veggies in your school garden that can be harvested by summer break but think you’ve run out of time: fear not! There is still a window for planting lettuce, radishes, peas and even nasturtiums – enough for a tasty harvest salad in the last week of school. And of course microgreens can be started anytime and will be ready to nibble in a week or so…kids really do love these.

The last frost date in our area is typically around April 25, meaning that this is a good time to direct sow seeds outdoors. I have some great lesson plans and ideas for garden planning and planting, so let me know if you’d like me to come and work with you and your class. I provide supplies and sessions are around 1-2 hours, depending on the grade level and what you’d like to achieve.

Here are some pics from recent workshops at Henderson and Kelly Creek schools.


Free school gardening calendar!

School Garden Calendar Cover PageA month by month guide for school gardening in Powell River is now available for you to use, just in time for the planting season. The guide provides you with indoor and outdoor food-growing related activities for every month of the school year, taking the guess-work and intimidation out of making the most of your school garden. Download as many copies as you need here.

A new School Food Literacy Program!

In September 2018, the School District created a new program to support and expand the great work being done in local schools to educate our children about where their food comes from, and empower them to make healthy food choices in their lives.

The Food Literacy Coordinator works with schools and the wider community to develop and implement a range of activities relating to the three pillars of school food literacy (as described by the Public Health Association of BC):

1. Teaching and Learning: Fostering Food Literacy

Teaching and learning activities are at the heart of a school’s efforts to develop food literate students that have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy food to support one’s health, community, and the environment. Opportunities to foster food literacy and develop food skills exist in the classroom across curriculum areas, and are strengthened by hands-on learning in gardens, kitchens, local farms and in the community. Programs, both during and outside of school, that teach healthy eating are complemented by efforts to build food skills such as cooking, label-reading, grocery shopping and growing food.

Here in Powell River, with our strong tradition of backyard vegetable growing and an expanding farming community, there is an emphasis on using school gardens and local farms as outdoor classrooms for creative, experiential learning. The Food Literacy Coordinator is currently working with schools to ensure all school gardens are thriving places where students and teachers can work alongside parents and other community members in a pleasant and rewarding environment.

2. Community Partnerships: Supporting Schools to Achieve Their Food Literacy Goals

These partnerships support schools in achieving their food literacy goals and provide opportunities for communities to be involved in supporting a comprehensive school health approach to food literacy at a local level. These partners may include community organizations, farmers, health professionals, municipalities, and others.

A local example is the relationship between the Food Literacy Program and local garden shop, Mother Nature. Not only does MN provide generous discounts on things like seeds and micro-green growing equipment for schools, they also consult with us on using these supplies as educational tools in gardens and classrooms. Another example is the educational partnership currently being developed between the Texada Food Hub and SD 47, which will result in a pilot program of food preservation workshops for Grades 3-7 students being offered in 2019.

3. Our School Policies: Creating Supportive School Food Policies

School food policies are developed at both the school and district level, and support healthy food environments, increase access to healthy food and support healthy eating and food literacy initiatives at school. Schools can work with all stakeholders across the school community, including students and parents, to create a whole school food policy that reinforces all other aspects of a comprehensive school health approach to food literacy by expressing a common vision encouraging all aspects of food to be brought together, clearly, coherently and consistently. School food policies can address the sale of unhealthy food, school garden policies, local procurement of fresh food, classroom celebrations and many other aspects of the school environment.

An example of this at the local level is collaboration between the Food Literacy Coordinator and Brooks High School students on a School Health Committee project to influence the food culture at the school, so that students have the knowledge and the options to make healthier choices. This will include surveying students as to the kinds of foods they’d like to see offered in vending machines and at the cafeteria, and working with the Culinary Arts program to develop some healthier lunch options.

“Food literacy is having the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy food to support one’s health, community, and the environment.” — Healthy Schools, BC

For more information or to share ideas, suggestions and questions, please contact Vanessa Sparrow, Food Literacy Coordinator at vanessa.sparrow@sd47.bc.ca or on 604.414.7437