Alex Hope opens edible garden
July 5, 2017
When the project began, the hill outside of Alex Hope Elementary was a mess, as described by now retired principal, Kelly Paddock. It was covered in blackberry brambles. A vision was then put into place for the removal of the bramble and the building of a garden in their place.
The improvements began with the award of the Farm to School Grant which went towards fixing up the hill.The blackberry was cleared and a concrete walkway was constructed along side the garden space.
The work on the garden then began with horticulture students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University coming to interview kids, teachers, and parents about how to turn the hill into a garden. They then constructed a garden plan based on the results. Construction of the garden began with students from a KPU carpentry program building a pair of tall lattice for the garden.
The lattice were attached to a pair of box planters at the top of the hill. They now house several food plants, including lettuce. Several other enclosed growing spaces were built to grow other food plants such as strawberries. A set of leaning pallet gardens were built and painted by the Grade 7 class and filled with flowers.
In recent months, the garden was recognized with the Toyota Evergreen Grant, which gave the school $1300 towards the growth of native BC trees, shrubs, and flowers. This included blueberries and wild strawberries. As a result the school’s Garden Club, with the help of the Grounds and Maintenance department, began planting along the hill. During recess and lunch students came to help, turning the planting into a school event. Some students have even brought out instruments, including fiddle, saxophone, and ukulele, to perform while the others work. For some students it was the first time they had ever planted something.
Logs were brought in and made into steps, while a set of cherry stumps were donated by a parent and set up as wooden seats at the foot of the garden.
“It is my dream that Alex Hope students now and in future years will learn environmental stewardship,” said Kelly Paddock, “about Aboriginal connections to the land through tending edible and medicinal plants while they enjoy the serenity of the space.”
Kelly Paddock is now looking for parent volunteers to come and water the garden during the summer months. She hopes to see the space grow into a small forest along the hill.
If you are interested in helping the garden during the weeks of July 17-30 and August 21-31, you can contact Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org