We hope community members teach students valuable skills.

According to their teachers, “Our young people need to learn that there is a lot of work that goes into producing food.”

CANORA – For the second year in a row, Canora Composite School staff and students planted and tended the school garden throughout the growing season.
Derek Serdachny, assistant director of CCS, said there are a variety of purposes and benefits involved in the garden project.
“This will encourage community members to be active participants in our students’ learning, teach students and parents about the importance of agriculture in our community and the world, while providing our students with opportunities to experiential learning through agricultural activities,” Serdachny said. “We intend to achieve our goals by creating a learning environment that includes a large garden, an orchard, a student welfare garden, outdoor learning spaces and a renovated school kitchen. to use the food we collect at school.”
This year’s garden was planted on June 9 by the whole school, as well as the 4th grade students of Canora Junior Elementary School, who currently form the 5th grade class at CCS.
“Each class was given a quadrant that they graded,” Serdachny explained. “Students Elizabeth Cuni, Daylia Lukey, Natalie Psyhk and Heidi Mentanko helped maintain the garden over the summer. We were very lucky to have their parents help us maintain the garden as well. Leona Kitchen, one of our teachers, helped water our new trees, and helped with maintenance.
“Students received honoraria to maintain the garden and help sell vegetables at the Canora Live & Play Street Festival in August. Vegetables harvested from our garden are sold at our school farmer’s market and community markets. Profits from these events buy seeds, tools and pay our students for their hard work.”
Serdachny said the garden has been very productive this year.
“Part of the extra money earned this year will go towards renovating our kitchen. A big thank you to everyone who came to support our school. We hope the vegetables were delicious!”
As with any relatively new business, Serdachny said the lessons learned along the way will be applied in the years to come.
“In our first year, most of our beets and cucumbers disappeared. Some people may have thought it was a community garden and helped themselves. We will be making permanent signs this year that will explain what the garden is for. design them in class.
“Unfortunately we had problems with moles and potato bugs. Some corn and potato plants were damaged.”
Unfortunately, the cool, wet spring weather prevented them from entering the garden early, but there was also a silver lining.
“For the most part, we didn’t have to water the garden. We watered the new trees regularly throughout the summer. It was a huge time commitment.”
Serdachny and the CCS staff are highly motivated to advance student learning, which is a big part of the garden project. The first goal was to raise enough funds to build a garden on the school grounds. Through grants and community donations, the funds raised were enough to create a 5,750 square foot garden.
“The garden is important because it will provide healthy nutrition for our students and for our practical applied arts and food studies programs,” Serdachny continued. “Our next major goal is to renovate our kitchen. This renovation will allow us to offer programs such as food-related CIP streams, food studies, and life skills classes for our functionally integrated students. In addition, our new kitchen will allow us to offer a nutrition program before and during school hours We can offer healthy lunches and snacks to our students throughout the day To ensure that we focus on holistic health of our students, we are also working on our fitness center.Our goal is to create a facility that allows students to exercise and learn the benefits of an active lifestyle while incorporating the agriculture in their learning.
Agriculture is a vital industry for Canora and the surrounding area, but Serdachny admits there are students at CCS “who don’t know the difference between corn and cucumbers.
“Our young people need to learn that there is a lot of work that goes into producing food. Grocery stores are only a fraction of this process. The garden was the first step to show students how and what work goes into growing produce. The second step is to renovate our kitchen. Once completed, the kitchen will have a direct impact on student health and learning opportunities. »
One of the goals of the program is to provide students with the best possible learning experience by bringing in experts from the community and surrounding regions.
“Our hope is that community members will help teach our students valuable techniques and skills used when growing and processing vegetables,” Serdachny explained. “For example, we would like community members to volunteer and teach our students traditional teachings, canning techniques, pickling and show how to use the vegetables we grow. Renovating our kitchen allows us to offer school lessons that are important to our students. It helps them engage in their learning and teaches them skills they can use every day. More importantly, it teaches students the process of getting food from farm to fork.
“Our kitchen connects members of our community to our student body. Sharing the knowledge of young and old helps our community come together and work together. These relationships benefit everyone in the community.”
Serdachny said plans are in place to continue to grow and diversify the project next year.
“We have planted a variety of crops this year including: canola, wheat, barley, oats and canary seed. Our hope is to bring agricultural experts to our school to teach us the different varieties, plant and soil science, and the different careers that are involved in the agricultural industry. We will do our best to start building the kitchen in 2023.”
Community support in the future will play a key role in the continued success of the project.
“Our staff works hard to generate funds through grant writing,” Serdachny said. “We won over $10,000 to help build our garden, buy tools and build the shed. Additional grants we received in 2021 and 2022 will go toward kitchen renovations. Good Spirit School Division is also contributing to the renovation which we appreciate, unfortunately we are short about $100,000.
“We hope that community members and the business community will see the value in renovating our school kitchen. The kitchen enhances our students’ learning, improves student health and adds to our community. Our staff at the CSC and CCS will be working on fundraising events this year. Please keep an eye out for information. If anyone is interested in the program and would like to learn more, please contact the school at 306-563-5492.