Students plant wetlands, learn modular farming at middle school in Kelowna

Students learn to grow

It was "Green Day" don Thursday at KLO Middle School, an event that brought kids out of the classroom to teach them about sustainability.

In addition to wellness walks to start their day, students worked with the BC Wildlife Federation's Wetlands Workforce team on the schools wetland area by maintaining existing plants, and planting new ones.

They also received a first-hand look at a new modular farm funded by the President's Choice Children’s Charity, in an effort to teach kids about growing healthy food options and making sure no one goes hungry.

KLO Middle School teacher Karla Lockwood says the modular farm has sprouted a new elective for students to take.

“We started what we’re calling ‘Seed to Feed.’ Teachers can sign up their classes in any curriculum or any content area, and my environmental kids go in and teach them about the process of growing. They end up harvesting over 200 heads of lettuce, kale, bok choy, rosie choy and they take it home to their families."

Lockwood says when her students see the growth of their fresh produce, it changes their attitude, and it's even inspired Grade 9 student Tarran Bates.

“I’ve been really attached, and I really want to learn more about how this whole thing works. So on my own time, I've been doing a bit of research on how this all works,” said Bates. “I’m hoping that when I get older, I can have my job be something like this.”

School principal Ashley Ragoonaden says seeing his students and teachers take part in Green Day makes him hopeful for the future.

"We are proud of our students and educators who embraced a green philosophy and brought this project to life," said Ragoonaden. "When we teach students both knowledge and practical skills around global issues, they gain confidence in their abilities, and we empower them to become engaged global citizens."

Students also received fresh smoothies made from kale that was grown at the school, while other ingredients such as blueberries, bananas and juice were donated by Peter Boyd of Independent Grocer. The school's environmental students planted over 800 kale seeds at the start of September.

“It was so great to see the kale being used up, and I know the students were super excited to try it,” said Lockwood.

Lockwood also said the modular farm is designed to last 30 years, so the hope is that it can be extended into the community through options like food banks or other initiatives in need in the future.

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