Garden Planning to Optimize Learning and Fresh Produce for LunchLAB
School garden, urban agriculture, soil health, soil nutrients, crop planning, sustainable food systems
Related Course Concepts
Cultural identities; Food security; Asset-based community development
Mission and Vision of Organization
Our school is committed to supporting engaged learners, caring communities and an inclusive school environment.
Guiding Principles + Values
At Lord Roberts, the wellness of our children and our school community is front and centre. When we speak of wellness, we consider the ability to learn, social, emotionally and intellectually. To deepen our support for children building strength in their day to day choices, as a staff, we will be looking at the following “big ideas” to support this goal:
- Social Emotional Learning
- School Climate
- Creating Opportunities to Give
- Primary Contact Person(s): Brent Mansfield
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 604-440-4538
- Address: 1100 Bidwell Street
- Website: Lord Roberts Elementary School
Preferred Method of Contact
- Best method(s) to contact: Email
- Best day(s) to contact: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Email any time; phone after 3pm is best
- Best time(s) to contact: Afternoons
Lord Roberts Elementary School is a large, diverse urban elementary school in the West End of downtown Vancouver. The school has a robust food education program where almost the entire school participates in weekly Edible Education classes. The school has a large school garden, consisting of 28 4 foot by 8 foot garden boxes. In June 2019 the school piloted LunchLAB, in partnership with Fresh Roots Urban Farm and Growing Chefs.
LunchLAB is a program designed to help students grow and cook food for themselves and each other to promote student learning and wellness. LunchLAB will give Intermediate students further learning and leadership opportunities in cooking, while giving all students the opportunity to enjoy healthy, local and delicious food more often. Groups of 8 students chefs (from Grades 5-7) worked with a teacher and Chef-in-Residence to make lunches for up to 150 students, incorporating produce from the school garden, Fresh Roots' farms and other local producers.
This project will build on the work already happening. We are working to include menu items and incorporate produce that reflects the cultural diversity of the students at the school. The piloting of LunchLAB will continue in the 2019-2020 school year, taking place twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) throughout the year. Lunches include a hot portion (tacos, curries, soups, etc.) and a full salad bad of veggies and fruits, with as much as possible coming from the school garden and local farms.
The main deliverable of the project is a crop and nutrient management plan that supports both student learning in Edible Education classes and maximizing produce to be included in LunchLAB.
What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?
The school garden is used regularly for Edible Education classes for students from Kindergarten to Grade 7. Students are involved in all aspects of the garden, including planning, planting, maintaining and harvesting. One goal is to maximize harvest throughout the school year (i.e. planting as early as possible for spring harvest, planting in summer for fall and winter harvest), with as little as possible being ready for harvest over the summer break. 18 of the garden boxes were recently built and installed in September 2018. The soil that the School Board put into the boxes is rather woody and there is some concern that it might be lacking certain nutrients and enough organic matter. This next year we would like to:
- Continue to maximize harvest throughout the school year, with a focus on growing produce that we can incorporate in the LunchLAB meals, both in the hot portion and salad bar.
- Grow produce to incorporate into menu items that reflects the cultural diversity of the students at the school.
- Build a new composting system in Fall 2019, with the hopes to be able to capture organic waste from the garden and LunchLAB programs to increase soil health
- Create crop and nutrient management plans that support both student learning in Edible Education classes and maximizing produce to be included in LunchLAB.
Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)
- Some knowledge of crop planning, soil health management and composting
- Knowledge of culturally diverse foods and produce
- Interest in school gardens and healthy eating programs
Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)
- Skills in developing crop and nutrient management plans
- Increased knowledge of opportunities for food education and increasing access to healthy, local and culturally appropriate food in schools
Is a criminal record check required?
Lord Roberts Elementary School (1100 Bidwell Street) in the West End of Vancouver
Preferred Days of Week and Hours
Best time for me to meet is between 3 and 5pm on weekdays
Project/Partner Orientation Materials
Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:
- Please review "Lord Roberts LunchLAB Program Structure Draft" to get a sense of the program and some of its goals (CWL login required)
- Please also take a quick look at the Edible Education Roberts (www.instagram.com/edibleeducationroberts) to learn more about what happens during Edible Education classes and to see some of the meals served for LunchLAB
- Sumner, J. (Ed.) (2016). Learning, food, and sustainability: Sites for resistance and change. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Available from UBC Library. Students should read the Introduction before the first community partner meeting.
Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials
The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:
- Students will be given a tour of the school garden and lunchroom, and meet with the Edible Education teacher to discuss the project
Related Community Service Opportunities for Students
LunchLAB food preparation with student chefs will take place between 10:50am and 12:47pm, with lunch served between 12:47 and 1:10pm on Mondays and Thursdays. If interested, there could be an opportunity for students to participate. Edible Education classes take place each day from Monday to Thursday, at various times between 9am and 3pm, and there could also be opportunities for students to participate.
I hope students will learn about...
- opportunities for food education and increasing access to healthy, local and culturally appropriate food in schools
I think students will come to appreciate...
- the power of food education and school meals to influence and inspire students
Through this project, students will develop...
- skills in developing crop and nutrient management plans, in a way that is meaningful and health-promoting for hundreds of children at school
Intended Project (Short Term) Outcome
The Lord Roberts garden is planned and managed in a way that maximizes produce to be included in LunchLAB and supports student learning in Edible Education classes. The health of the soil in the Lord Roberts garden is improved through development of a composting program, soil management practices, and the addition of other soil amendments as necessary.
Medium Term Outcome
If the student project is part of a larger project at your organization, how will the students' work contribute to the goals of this larger project?
- Students will create crop and soil health management plans for the school garden to support both student learning in Edible Education classes and maximizing produce to be included in LunchLAB.
How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?
- Creating opportunities for students to learn to grow, prepare and eat healthy, local and delicious food at school helps us advance our school's commitment to supporting engaged learners, caring communities and an inclusive school environment.