Keith Beaty, Toronto Star
High School as Community Garden

This year vegetables have been growing in front of Scarborough High School, Bendale Business and Technical Institute. The landscaping and gardening class has built 26 raised cedar garden beds and planted and nurtured a crop of vegetables. The community garden project has infiltrated almost every program in the school. Some of the produce has been used by the school's culinary arts students to create gourmet delights, while other produce has been bundled and sold in the school's community garden market on a pay what you can basis. The project has involved horticulture, culinary, carpentry, plumbing and business students. As well as the garden beds, compost bins and a rain barrel water system were built. Over the summer 5 students were hired to attend to the garden.

The school is working with FoodShare, a non profit organization and hopes to be a model for other schools. An Ontario Community Go Green Fund Grant provided $65,000 to pilot the 11 month project. Next year the school plans to add 35 more garden beds at the back of the school. FoodShare has worked with 26 other schools to create gardens and is working with at least five more, but Bendale's project is by far the largest. As Jennifer Bain reports in the Toronto Star, " It proves the educational value of food and all the ways it can be worked into the curriculum." (see the full story An Edible Education, Nov 3, 2010)

Projects like this where schools partner with the community provide authentic learning for students while giving back to the community. Valuable space around schools is laying dormant while it could be put to use for community projects. There is opportunity for learning, sharing and giving back to the community in the open and unused spaces.

Next up, Denver School of Science & Technology