B.C. schools have been taking initiative to remove processed foods from their institutions. From educators to parents, a collective concern was expressed as children were eating unhealthy foods and growing disconnected from understanding how food is grown.
To support these efforts, the BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association partnered with BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with educators to bridge the gap between students and B.C. agriculture, to inform educators and students about how greenhouse produce is grown.
The classes discussed why eating locally-grown food is more nutritious and learned about the operations of a greenhouse cycle (from seedlings in the winter to full harvest in summer and fall), the need for greenhouses, and how they contribute towards food security and environmental sustainability.
This past May, growers in Delta, Abbotsford and Surrey opened their doors and led educational tours for students in grades 4 to 12, as part of the BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association’s annual BC Greenhouse Veggie Days awareness campaign. Each student was given a booklet to complete as they learned about aspects such as pest control, irrigation and technology.
The tours were designed to make curriculum requirements entertaining, creating connections for the older students interested in Food Studcs, Culinary Arts, Sciences, Careers, Entrepreneurship, and Marketing. Whereas, grade school students were able to glean a deeper understanding of how local peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers are grown.
The students also heard about how greenhouse growers are farmers who have the ability to control the climatein which the produce grows, allowing for more food production than B.C.’s outdoor climate could otherwise support. They were fascinated by the hydroponic system and learning how good bugs are introduced to eat bad bugs.
Knowing children learn best when engaged, the growers created a memorable day that had the children interested and asking many questions. While the collaboration between organizations was a first, the goal is to strengthen this partnership over the next few years by enhancing programs.