Friday, July 6, 2012

Think and Eat Green @ School Summer Institute at UBC, July 2012

You’ll reap the biggest benefits of the Institute if you can attend with a small team from your school, and if you have a plan or a firm intention to start a food garden at school.

That being said, being surrounded by creative thinkers and problem solvers is a great way to spend a day (or three).

Each day offered choices of sessions: Tools in the Garden; Lawns to Loaves; Teaching Science in the Garden; Watering and Irrigation; Cooking up Curriculum and Eating the (PL)Outcomes; The Gonder’s Neck; Season Extension in the Garden; Cooking in Cramped Spaces; Farm to School: Integrating Local Food into the Kitchen, Lunchroom and Classroom.

In short – come with a problem; leave with a solution.

Coffee, Snacks and Lunch were provided all three days, as well as dinner, on the final day. The food alone is worth the trip – the ideas, the company… icing on the cake!

It was all very accessible, entry-level information intended to help you start from zero and find a garden that suits your school community. Of course, this can be adapted to help you expand, improve or rescue an existing garden.

Best tip (and the hardest one to follow) –
START SMALL. (But label it clearly so that District Maintenance doesn’t remove it.)

My favourite? Chef Steve – a few minutes of his rapid-fire stream of recipes, ideas and innovations was totally worth the trek from Coquitlam to UBC.

I attended with an entire district on my mind. We have a lot of teachers and staff who would dearly love to garden with the students. I think the TEG program would suit many of you, and I strongly recommend that you check it out. There will be another Summer Institute next year, and if you want local Pro D on gardening and outdoor classrooms, just let me know! That’s the role of an LSA – to provide Pro D and support and EELSA would be more than happy to arrange the kind of Pro D that YOU want.

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