It began as a vision: Melanie Beliveau, a Vancouver Technical Secondary School (VanTech) biology teacher believed in the possibilities of teaching in an outdoor classroom that was supported by urban farmers and big enough for the entire school to use. VanTech already had an existing school garden, so teachers understood the value of teaching outside, but they desired a long-term, resilient partner to support with gardening maintenance, resources, and knowledge.

Together, Melanie and Ilana of Fresh Roots dreamed up the concept of a Schoolyard Market Garden – a commercially producing educational farm on school land utilized as an outdoor learning classroom. As VanTech and the Vancouver School Board began drawing plans for a new green landscape on the east side of the school, they invited Fresh Roots to join the conversation. Areas within the landscape architecture plan were allotted to the ‘school farm’ and teachers’ dreams of an outdoor learning classroom took root.

In March of 2013, 285 volunteers spent four days to establish the VanTech Schoolyard Market Garden. The outcome is a garden where teachers teach their curriculum outdoors, where students experience transformational learning while working alongside young urban farmers, and where the school’s cafeteria staff source produce for school lunches.

Reel Youth facilitated claymation film workshops with students at VanTech, asking them to create one minute films that answer the question “Why is the market garden important to you?” Find the short clips below!