St. Fran­cis re­vives green­house

New project en­cour­ages kids to de­velop green thumb


The large green­house at St. Fran­cis School in Har­bour Grace hasn’t been put to much use in re­cent years, but staff and vol­un­teers are now in midst of launch­ing a new project that, come this fall, will hope­fully in­volve all stu­dents at the K-8 school.

St. Fran­cis School in Har­bour Grace has a rare luxury. Any­one who looks at the school will eas­ily no­tice the large green­house at­tached to the south end of the prop­erty.

Built in 1992, the 2,400-square­foot struc­ture has not been put to use much in re­cent years. How­ever, with the help of com­mu­nity vol­un­teers and school staff, that’s now chang­ing.

Chef Garry Gosse of Har­bour Breeze Cater­ing and farm­ers Corinne Hig­don-Ward and Lisa Simms from Roots Coun­try Farm in Bay Roberts re­cently vis­ited the school to help kick start the Take Root Green­house Project.

Through the project, stu­dents will gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of where food comes from and how grow­ing veg­eta­bles can con­trib­ute to a healthy life­style.

“Every­body has a men­tor po­si­tion,” ex­plained Gosse. “They’re (Roots Coun­try Farm) the farm­ing as­pect, teach­ers will be the learn­ing as­pect in the class­room, and I my­self will be tak­ing it from the green­house to the cafe­te­ria ta­ble.”

Ev­ery stu­dent in grades 1-3 planted their own seeds in a plas­tic con­tainer. Over six weeks, they’ll wa­ter and track the progress of their plants un­til they’re ready to har­vest in June.

“This year, in con­sul­ta­tion with Garry, we came up with a won­der­ful project,” school prin­ci­pal Gary Bar­rett told The Compass shortly af­ter a group of Grade 1 stu­dents planted radish seeds, giv­ing them six squirts of wa­ter to get the grow­ing process rolling. Stu­dents in grades 2 and 3 are grow­ing dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of let­tuce.

“With Garry’s help and the lo­cal farm­ers, we’re in a re­ally, re­ally good sit­u­a­tion to re­vi­tal­ize our green­house, and the plan will be to be long-term and sus­tain­able over many years to come.”

Stu­dents will keep a jour­nal and up­date it when­ever they check in on their crops at the green­house. They can write about the progress of their plants, or even do draw­ings if they like. Once the veg­eta­bles are ready for har­vest, Gosse, whose com­pany serves lunches at the school, will make sal­ads for the stu­dents to en­joy.

If all goes well with the project this spring, other stu­dents at the K-8 school will start grow­ing veg­eta­bles in the green­house this fall.

Every­body has a men­tor po­si­tion. Garry Gosse


St. Fran­cis School prin­ci­pal Gary Bar­rett, cen­tre, chats with Grade 1 stu­dents be­fore they get ready to begin plant­ing their radish seeds. To his left is farmer Lisa Simms (Roots Coun­try Farm), Garry Gosse (Har­bour Breeze Cater­ing), and Corinne Hig­don-Ward (Roots Coun­try Farm).

From left, Grade 1 stu­dents Ajah Brazil and So­phie Jo McCarthy get some soil from farmer Lisa Simms to plant their radish seeds in.

Jef­fery Pynn, left, gives his radish seeds six squirts of wa­ter while fel­low Grade 1 stu­dent Hai­ley Os­mond looks on.

Th­ese Grade 1 stu­dents at St. Fran­cis School in Har­bour Grace will watch their radish seeds grow over a six-week pe­riod. Pic­tured are, from the left, Madi­son Chafe, Makenna Hunt, Sarah Sul­li­van, Alyssa Ma­haney and Leah Hunt.

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