Over the past 3 years, Loving Spoonful has been proud to steward the expansion of the GROW Project, throughout the Greater Kingston Area. Due to a lack of funding and the realities of Covid-19, the GROW Project will be ‘out for recess’ for the 2020-2021 school year.
The GROW Project
Good Food * Community * Collaboration * Environmental Stewardship
Loving Spoonful's school-garden based GROW Project teaches students in the Greater Kingston Area about good food, community, collaboration, and environmental stewardship. Thanks to three-year Grow Grant funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the GROW Project expanded from 7 schools and 271 students in 2017 to 21 schools and 890 students by 2020.
Students in grades 4-8 participate in hands-on workshops where they plant, care for, and harvest vegetables in their school gardens while learning values of stewardship and responsibility. Seven curriculum-connected classroom workshops complement their garden time, teaching students about healthy eating, food security, social justice, ecology, climate change, cooking, and more.
GROW connects students to more than good food. Through classroom workshops, guest visitors, the fence mural project, and donations of produce, students connected to their local community. Nature-based field trips deepen their understanding of the links between food, health, community, and the Earth.
The development of our GROW Project coincides with a broader emergence of garden-based curriculum, which is being taken up in schools throughout North America as evidence mounts about the effectiveness of this experiential teaching tool. A growing list of positive outcomes that can arise from school garden programs include:
opportunities for engaging in outdoor work (and play!)
increasing children's willingness to try new foods
positively influencing students’ diets as their knowledge of fruits and vegetables increases
improving students' attitudes towards school in general
improving social relations and mental health
improving academic achievement
Hear what the participants have to say:
In response to the COVID-19 situation in the spring of 2020, we quickly adapted our spring workshops to provide online learning modules called GROW Project@Home for teachers, families, and anyone interested in good food education. Each module includes an Activities Outline, a Loving Spoonful-produced video and information resources.
As a new school year started in the fall of 2020, a lack of funding coupled with the realities of the pandemic environment, has resulted in a "recess break" for the GROW Project for the 2020-2021 school year.
We want to send a huge thanks to volunteers, donors, and our local farmers who supported the GROW Project over the past 3 years. Supporting farms include: Root Radical, Fat Chance Farmstead, Highland Gem Farm, Patchwork Gardens, Goat Ridge Farm, Forman Farms, Salt of the Earth Farm, Doublejay Farms, the Martin Homestead, Main Street Urban Farm, and Sun Harvest Greenhouses.
Thank you as well to our partners and supporters below:
I can't believe I actually like kale!"
GROW PROJECT STUDENT
"Being in the garden makes me feel happy and relaxed. I like knowing that we're not just growing for ourselves but for the whole community."
GROW PROJECT STUDENT
"Two of my kids have been through the GROW Project and each year when they've finished they've coe home and started planting their own vegetables. This summer thay had all sorts of things growing. I cam home a few weeks go and they were actually serving up salads from the garden. It's so great!"
GROW PROJECT PARENT
"Things like the GROW Project will change the world. This is where we need to put our energy."
GROW PROJECT TEACHER