Lead by the folks at GrowHappy.ca, Immaculate Conception elementary school in Peterborough created a "food forest" as part of an amazing class project on Thursday (June 23rd). Mitch Champagne's Grade 6/7 class collaborated with Mim Devitt's Grade 1 class to create a permaculture food forest.
Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.
A Food Forest is a low maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems—incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans.
Teacher Mitch Champagne, who live tweeted much of the day (see some below), says their School Based Food Forest Permaculture project focused on teaching students about food systems, habitat, environmentally sustainable farming practices, cooking, preserving, seed gathering and propagation, pollination and more.
Champagne says there is a great deal of research that links gardening in youth with positive mental health—something GrowHappy.ca espouses as part of their "Plant It Forward" approach—and the class explored these links.
"It was an incredible opportunity to create a sustainable Food Forest with our students," Champagne tells PTBOCanada of this memorable day. "The children brought so much energy, curiosity, and wonder to the whole experience. They really understood the links to positive physical and mental health and were very eager to 'Plant It Forward.'"