Kai Eversfield (left) and Robert Wallace Nicundano MacDonald working the farm stand. (Photo courtesy Leah Selzter)

Kai Eversfield (left) and Robert Wallace Nicundano MacDonald working the farm stand. (Photo courtesy Leah Selzter)

Greater Victoria students help bring small-scale urban farming to community

The high school students presented their work at City Hall on Nov. 13

Students in the Greater Victoria school district participated in a small-scale urban agriculture project over the summer and were able to grow food, connect with the community and improve their mental health in the process.

The Seed the City project was open to all secondary students in the district. Thirteen students from Mount Douglas Secondary, Reynolds Secondary, Victoria High School and Esquimalt High School took part in the program and put in at least 100 hours each over the course of nine weeks.

The project was a partnership between School District 61 (SD61), LifeCycles and Topsoil, explained LifeCycles program manager Leah Seltzer.

LifeCycles has been operating in the Capital Regional District for over 25 years and seeks to develop communities that build, share and harvest food.

Seed the City emerged from a need to bring agriculture to schools and help students in high school learn about career paths associated with farming, Seltzer said.

READ ALSO: Match making service connects gardeners with plots

She worked closely with the students all summer teaching them about the many aspects of urban agriculture.

Students earned work experience credit through the program and spent their summer growing vegetables in the courtyard gardens at Reynolds Secondary and salad greens in the new, above-ground, micro-farm beds provided by Topsoil. The students also attended workshops and field trips and ran a stall at the Topsoil farmers’ market each week.

Seltzer pointed out that none of the students dropped out of the program and that many spoke of how much they enjoyed learning, eating healthy, being outside, connecting with their peers and building something that lasts. The garden remains on the school grounds and has provided fresh food used in the cafeteria throughout the fall.

On Nov. 13, the students presented at City Hall during a small-scale urban farming information session.

The program has given them several opportunities to become advocates for what they care about, Seltzer noted.

READ ALSO: Submissions open for 2020 Teeny Tiny Garden Tour

Seed the City exposed students to career paths in horticulture and sustainability which is the goal, according to District vice-principal Lindsay Johnson, who oversees the career path programs in SD61. Helping students figure out who they are and then find a career path that aligns with who they are while still in school is the district’s goal, she noted.

Many of the students who participated indicated a desire for a livelihood involved in making positive change, Seltzer said. Now, they know that farming isn’t just happening in rural areas and that they can combine life in the city with their passions for food-growing.

Seltzer and Johnson are hopeful the program will run again in the summer of 2020. For updates, visit the lifecyclesproject.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Nearly 1,200 residents between Sooke and Port Renfrew lost power on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (BC Hydro)
UPDATE: Power restored for nearly 1,200 residents in Sooke, Port Renfrew

Outage in Port Renfrew due to fallen tree on power lines

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read