When the sun is shining, the clouds are giving shade, seeds are in the ground, and sprouts are breaking through the earth…it’s time to celebrate. On a sunny Thursday last week, dozens of eager students at Queen Elizabeth Elementary poured into the school’s courtyard to sample a wide variety of garden treats. It was the third annual harvest party, complete with a wandering minstrel singing improvised vegetable songs.
The impressive bounty had its roots in the dozens of plant boxes scattered around the school. Over the past three years, students, parents and staff at Queen Elizabeth have transformed the grounds into an edible schoolyard. Under the leadership of QE teacher Natasha Tousaw and the guidance and support of a variety of community partners including SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation), Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds, Think and Eat Green at School, TD Friends of the Environment and the City of Vancouver City Greening Grant, the school community has built nine raised cedar garden boxes and grown tons of organic vegetables. On the west side of the school grounds, the school also boasts a mini-fruit orchard, which includes five semi-dwarf apple trees, two semi-dwarf plum tree, a kiwi tree, two grape vines, two big raspberry patches, 14 blueberry bushes, and several large strawberry patches with a lovely little path in between. At the end of the orchard lay a three tier composting system which had helped the school divert approximately 200 kg from landfills after Queen Elizabeth started a school-wide composting program.
With such a bounty, it is only fitting for a celebration of equal size.
We don’t have any recordings of the minstrel for you, but we have photos of the special event, and a full story if you head on over to the Vancouver School Board Website, right here.