he School Year Gardens Toolkit is one of the results of a larger pilot project entitled“Supporting Seasonal Eating” that was coordi-nated by the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Proj-ect (RFSTP) from 2006-2007. e RFTSP is acommunity-based project located in Richmond,BC that connects volunteers with growing andharvesting fruit and vegetables – for our neigh-bours in need.e United Way Community InnovationGrant generously provided funding for thisproject. In addition, many community groupswere involved in making the project a success,most notably Lynn Forrest and her Fit for LifeStudents at Richmond High School who partici-pated in both classroom and ﬁeld lessons duringthe winter and spring of 2007.
Why a Toolkit for High Schools?
e link between schools and gardens isgrowing in the greater Vancouver area, particu-larly amongst elementary schools
. Within highschools though, there is still a need to build onthe foundation being oﬀered at the elementary level. It is essential that students’ awarenessbuilds as they become increasingly independentin making decisions about nutrition and pat-terns of consumption. ere is a small windowof opportunity that exists with young people tohelp them make healthy decisions about foodand nutrition.Currently through the ‘Healthy School Ini-tiative’ there are several programmes oﬀeredwithin Richmond high schools, which highlightthe importance of nutrition and making healthy choices. ough, while strong in the classroom,few are actively involving students in hands-ontraining by building a direct connection withfood production.
One exception is the Fit for Life programmedesigned to support at-risk girls between the ages
of 15-17. Wanting to work with high school stu-dents, the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project(RFTSP) chose to link with the Fit for Life pro-gramme and support their comprehensive nutri-tion and ﬁtness curriculum. In recognising thata greenhouse would oﬀer a natural extension tothe course objectives, RFTSP partnered with theFit for Life class at Richmond High School for thepilot of the Supporting Seasonal Eating project.In evaluating the outcomes of this pilot proj-ect and the partnership with the Fit for Lifestudents, the RFTSP strongly recommends thecontinuation of such programmes as well as thedevelopment of a food garden for each school,speciﬁcally one that supports seasonal (fall, win-ter and spring) growing thereby facilitating thelimits of the school year.
is Toolkit is designed to inspire teachers togrow food in their high schools thereby makingthe best possible use of school grounds and help-ing to create an important resource beneﬁtingstudents, staﬀ and the school community.is Toolkit can be used to expand food-centred and nutrition awareness projects andto support School Boards to develop new, moreexpansive, district-wide policies on food security for high school students.
1 Terra Nova School Yard project is one example from Richmond. e structure of elementary classes and day schedules combined with more extensive community supportgenerally facilitate greater success for gardens at an elementary level.2 www2.sd38.bc.ca/SD%2038%20Policy/500%20-%20STUDENTS/506-G