Health & Well-being

Classroom Gardens

Learning to Grow! From seed to harvest, in-school gardens nurture minds and nourish bodies.

Can you think of a better way to teach children about plants and nutrition, and to support healthy eating, than to grow vegetables in the classroom? 

Classroom Gardens brings indoor gardening into elementary and secondary classrooms across all four Ottawa school boards. Throughout the school year, and even through the cold winter months, these students are growing plants from seed, and learning in a hands-on way about plant life cycles, nutrition, and entrepreneurship. Most importantly, students have the opportunity to eat the food they’ve grown, which is a proven way to get kids excited about eating healthy, fresh vegetables. 

To get involved, contact Program Manager Doreen Manley at dmanley@onfe-rope.ca.

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This February we're excited to launch Windowsill Gardening!

Windowsill Gardening provides equipment for each student to start their own mini garden at home, and can be adapted to students attending school in person or learning at home.

Students will plant 4 different edible plant varieties, watch them germinate, grow, and thrive. 

Winter 2021 Update

 

When schools closed in March, ONFE put together 800 Classroom Gardens seed kits that went out to children through Ottawa Community Houses. We also piloted a seed kit program for teachers, sending seeds, seedling journals, and curriculum supporting materials for students to use at home.

 

In February, ONFE’s Classroom Gardens will launch Windowsill Gardening, providing equipment for each student to start their own mini garden at home. Students will learn how to plant and cultivate their garden in class, in order to maintain their gardens at home. The Windowsill Gardening Program can be adapted to students attending school in person or learning at home.

 

The Windowsill Gardening Program offers even more robust support to teachers, with newly developed comprehensive lesson plans, demonstrations, and scientific experiments. Students will plant 4 different edible plant varieties, watch them germinate, grow, and thrive. Once the plants mature, students can transplant them outdoors where both the learning and the tasting can continue throughout the summer. 

 

Just like all ONFE programs, Classroom Gardens is offered at no charge to students to remain accessible. Help us teach kids about healthy food and the growing cycle.

About the Program

Need

Poor nutrition is linked with many chronic and costly health conditions including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, and hyperactivity among children. Growing food in the classroom is proven way to get kids excited about eating healthy fresh vegetables, while learning about nutrition, entrepreneurship, and the wide range of career choices related to food. Learning about healthy food at school is especially critical for the one in five children in Ottawa who live in poverty. Not surprisingly, there is a direct link between nutrition and household income.

Response

Now in our fifth year of Classroom Gardens, ONFE is partnering with elementary schools and high schools across Ottawa’s four public school boards to bring this program to students. Classroom Gardens engages students of all ages (with a special focus on grade 3 classes) in planting, growing, harvesting, and most importantly, tasting and enjoying their own classroom garden vegetables. Each indoor classroom garden can grow up to 50 edible plants at a time, all year long. That’s a lot of healthy food to share with students, their families, and their neighbourhoods! 

Impact

Classroom Gardens engages local teachers and students in creating and tending to indoor gardens. Targeted lesson plans and growing programs connect hands-on gardening activities with curriculum goals in a variety of subjects. Students gain a better understanding of plants, food supply and demand, nutrition and healthy eating, and food-related careers.