At ONFE, we believe that nutrition doesn’t stop at a healthy breakfast – it is enriched and empowered by an understanding of where food comes from, and through encouraging engagement with fresh food from seed to plate.
The newly developed Windowsill Gardens model has been incorporated into both the In-Person Learning and Virtual Classroom models and continues the mission of Classroom Gardens.
About the Program
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.
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!
This spring we have 4018 participating students and 217 teachers.
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.
To continue supporting Grade 3 Ottawa students, wherever they are learning, our Classroom Gardens Program has developed a 2 new Windowsill Gardening Programs:
- ONFE’s Classroom Gardens program is helping students and teachers in virtual classrooms to start their own mini gardens at home. Students and teachers receive supplies and learn how to plant, maintain and cultivate their gardens at home.
- Teachers receive supplies and carry out a teacher led, demonstration only model for in-school learners.
Are you a gardener? Join our journey!
Follow along on social as ONFE staff join students in learning about gardening this spring!
Are you starting your own seeds at home? Join our journey and share your photos with us!
Support Ottawa kids
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.