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.