Health & Well-being

Classroom Gardens

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

Kids learn best when they can see, feel, touch and fully experience the subject matter they are studying. That being true, 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 is a new pilot project that is bringing 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 will have the opportunity to eat the food they’ve grow, which is a proven way to get kids excited about eating healthy, fresh vegetables.

To get involved, contact Program Manager Carole Dufort at cdufort@onfe-rope.ca .

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 second year of Classroom Gardens, ONFE is partnering with 24 schools across Ottawa’s four public school boards to bring this program to students. Classroom Gardens engages students in the planting, growing, and harvesting of vegetables. We primarily work with grade 3 classes, and have also expanded to five high schools, and to grade 5 students with whom we develop entrepreneurship ideas related to their gardens. Each garden can grow over 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.

You Can Help Students Thrive

Children that grow vegetables in school are more likely to try nutritious foods. Your donation will support innovative programs like Classroom Gardens that bring school curriculum to life with hands-on learning experiences.

Become a Volunteer Today

Retirees, students, recent graduates, working professionals and other community-minded individuals volunteer to help bring ONFE programs into classrooms across Ottawa. Our volunteers mentor, instruct, tutor, read, serve breakfast and more. They are central to our mission to support student success.