Delta council recently approved more funding for Project Pickle.
The approved $12,000 funding request will be matched by a grant from the Delta Agricultural Society, while the program received $54,000 from the Delta School District and $5,000 from both Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and Century Group.
Project Pickle is a local educational program run by Delta resident and Optimist community columnist Mike Schneider.
The program has been teaching students about food and farming since 2012.
A report to council notes that since 2012, the program has expanded to include “young farmers” in 71 classes in the school district, plus an additional 25 classes that have continued to offer the same programming without direct involvement from Project Pickle.
Through Project Pickle, the students learn to plant, harvest and eat food that they grow themselves.
At the same time, students are taught the timeline for the process of food going from farm-to-table, and
the career opportunities throughout the supply chain, the report notes.
The program uses underutilized school-owned lands to expose students to the process and steps involved in turning a seed in the ground into food on their plate, from the actual planting through to the hospitality industry that eventually prepares and serves the food.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already affected the learning opportunities for many of Delta's students, the report notes, adding the program will likely continue to include outside learning as an important aspect of the education of Delta students, and Project Pickle expects to grow its work as a result.
“Project Pickle intends to introduce the programming in to every school in Delta eventually,” said Schneider. “I am unable to attend to all schools wishing to participate purely from the sheer number of schools and classes involved. This being the case, I am developing a manual for educators so that they can participate without my direct involvement. To this end there are four schools that are offering the programming without my supervision. This is accounting for approximately 25 classes.
“Outside learning will be an important part of learning in the Delta School District and Project Pickle will continue to grow as a result. The teaching opportunities on the school farms are immense and some very creative educators are embracing aspects of food and farming in to the regular curriculum.”