The dream for a market garden at David Thompson Secondary School sprouted in a greenhouse.
Lee Green, the culinary arts instructor at David Thompson, had been growing herbs and vegetables with her Acelt Culinary Arts program for years, but always regretted that the greenhouse in the courtyard sat empty. So she invited Fresh Roots to enliven the neglected space.
The transformation was dramatic. Animated with farm staff, interns and thousands of seedlings, the space attracted attention. Inspired by the potential of adding such vibrancy to the entire school grounds, Lee, Principal Iona Whishaw and Vice Principal Alison Ogden worked to bring a large-scale market garden to David Thompson Secondary.
After 3 years of planning, meetings with student clubs, the Green Team Initiatives, partner organizations and neighbourhood houses, the David Thompson Schoolyard Market Garden was established in June 2013, over a span of 4 days by over 360 community volunteers. Today it hosts dozens of classes across disciplines, extracurricular opportunities, schoolyard farm tours, field trips, and team building opportunities. Neighbours gather with the school community, celebrating the simple joys, wonder, and magic of growing food.
“Student anxiety is lowered, seemingly by its very presence, behavior in general is improved, and there is a very strong sense of mission in the students around the garden. It is a source of pride for them, and a great source of communal endeavor.”
– Iona Whishaw, Principal at David Thompson Secondary, 2013