Resurrection Catholic Secondary School, one of our parish’s schools, has a popular and dynamic Green Industries Program which engages students in the field of landscape and horticulture. Through participating in these courses, the students develop knowledge and skills related to agriculture, floristry, forestry, horticulture and landscaping. In addition to these practical skills, the students also learn about social and economic issues related to green industries and explore ways of enhancing environmental sustainability. They also learn about apprenticeships, post-secondary training opportunities and employment opportunities that may be pursued directly after graduation.
Students, under the direction of their teachers, begin the planting process in early February. Seeds are planted and cultivated in the school’s greenhouse located on the top floor. Students tend to the seedlings until early spring when they can be transferred to the large, new outdoor greenhouse. Springtime brings much activity as the gardens at the school are prepared for planting. There are 12 raised gardens, a pollinator garden, a fruit garden with blueberry and raspberry plants and a variety of beautification gardens with many types of flowers. In the raised gardens, students plant tomatoes, corn, squash, watermelon, peppers, garlic, basil, lavender and mint. There are also the perennials of strawberries and rhubarb.
Students sell surplus plants to staff and neighbours around the school to build community, raise awareness and avoid food waste.
As much of the produce matures during the summer, it is distributed to families at the Daycare and the summer staff at the school. Waterloo Region School Food Gardens also benefits from some of the produce in the summer in exchange for watering, tending and weeding during July and August.
The Green Industries Program is looking forward to September when they will add a chicken coop, a potting shed and 2 additional outdoor greenhouses, creating a veritable horticultural mecca by the fall!
~ written by Kathy Doherty-Masters