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Project connects kids with their food

Pebble Hill students growing a variety of vegetables in gardens at Tsaw. school

Giggles and chatter escalated among grades 2 and 3 students at Pebble Hill Traditional Elementary as they passed around oddly shaped cucumbers. Some short and stubby, others twisted or curved, these cucumbers were grown right at the school.

In June, the students planted the vegetables with the goal of being able to transform them into salty, crunchy treats - pickles.

Roughly 200 cucumbers were planted at the school and over the summer a group led by South Delta Secondary student ML Schneider tended to and harvested the vegetables.

Earlier this month, Schneider visited with the Pebble Hill students to teach them about the process of turning their cucumbers into pickles. She explained the process from sterilizing the jars, to creating brine, to placing the cucumbers in the jars with the liquid to allow them to pickle.

She passed around jars full of ingredients, including garlic, rosemary, dill, peppercorns, coriander and mustard seed. The students once again started up their chatter as they eagerly described what they smelled.

Among the excitement, Schneider explained to the students the significance of growing their own food.

"There are kids my age who can't cook for themselves and that's pretty sad. You have to know how to grow your food and handle it," she told the elementary students.

Schneider and her father Mike are running a similar program at English Bluff Elementary, and in conjunction with the Delta school district, are creating a curriculum regarding growing and harvesting vegetables they hope to bring to all Delta schools.

"We thought it would be cool to engage children with horticulture from a young age," said Mike Schneider.

At Pebble Hill, two types of spinach and two types of lettuce will soon be harvested, made into salads, and sent to the KinVillage Community Centre for a lunch for seniors.

After this, garlic, fall rye and daffodils will be planted to join other wintering items.