May 22, 2013

Castlebridge Public School celebrates first official School Garden Day

May 24 at 9:30 a.m. marks the first official celebration of School Garden Day in Ontario with Castlebridge Public School, Ecosource and the Imagine A Garden in Every School Campaign. School Garden Day 2013 will celebrate the excellent work of Castlebridge and the launch of an Ontario-Wide School Gardening Survey in partnership with the Ontario Edible Education Network. The event will include a short presentation and ceremonial seed planting, with a group photo opportunity.

The Ontario-Wide School Gardening Survey will collect the stories, successes and challenges of school gardening across Ontario, and will inform the creation of a tool kit that will make it easier for schools to create and sustain gardens.

Castlebridge has taken on this gardening project in several stages, applying a whole-school approach to engaging the broader community to build support and increase capacity to move from classroom planter boxes to a long term vision of converting an old baseball diamond into a garden oasis.

“It has been amazing for us at Ecosource to see the garden project at Castlebridge literally put down roots, flourish and grow through our partnership,” says Carolyn Bailey, Associate Director at Ecosource. “Gardening can be a new skill for many, but by using simple classroom planters, the community at Castlebridge is doing a fantastic job of building enthusiasm and capacity while also achieving the goal of sharing the many benefits of gardening in a low-tech, easy-to-do manner,”

“At this point we are starting with indoor greening—eight classrooms will be planting herbs and vegetables in their rooms,” says Shamima Basrai, teacher at Castelbridge. They are using self watering containers (thank you Ecosource for sharing this idea!) created by our dedicated high school student volunteer. The thought is to get students and teachers excited about the whole growing and harvesting experience. At the same time we also want to get students’ input on the outdoor garden design, so we are having a design contest to see how they envision an outdoor learning space.”

Support for the Castlebridge PS Gardening initiative has been provided by the Ecosource-York University Certificate Course, and the Mississauga Sustainable Urban Agriculture (MSURA) Project. The Ecosource –York U Certificate Course is a unique professional development course focused on Whole-School Approaches to Educating for Sustainability. Through hands-on learning, teachers and administrators learn the latest tools and strategies for environmental education. Simultaneously, participants receive help to initiate a whole-school environmental action campaign, based on the needs of their school. This initiative is generously supported by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and the Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund.

The MSURA Project is led by Ecosource in collaboration with the Eden Community Food Bank, with support from the City of Mississauga and the University of Toronto Mississauga. Together we are working to increase access to fresh healthy food and sustainable food growing education in our community. This initiative is generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. For more information, please visit www.ecosource.ca

RSVP/Contact information: Carolyn Bailey Associate Director & Urban Agriculture Manager, Ecosource , 905-274-6222 or cbailey@ecosource.ca

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