Engaging and connecting youth in gardening concepts and food security

Winnipeg Harvest is teaming up with the Urban Green Team once again this summer. The idea behind the program is to connect and engage youth with living things by growing healthy foods in the “Blue Box Gardening Program.” By utilizing modified blue boxes normally used to carry recyclables, Winnipeg Harvest is developing a rooftop container garden.

Winnipeg School Division has been operating their Summer Garden Program for 15 years. Through support from the Provincial Urban Green Team grants and Children’s Disability  Services (formerly Children’s Special Services), the Winnipeg School Division runs a summer gardening program at Winnipeg Harvest.

The Blue Box Gardening Program is a simple, reasonable and exciting way to bring the practical side of horticulture to many people. The volunteer chefs at Winnipeg Harvest are delighted to have already enjoyed some of the nutritious and homegrown “buffet”, which includes tomatoes, lettuce (shown above), thyme, chives, dill, peppers, onions and other delicious edibles. The volunteers, clients and staff are excited to see fresh produce growing right on the rooftop and commend the Urban Green Team for their efforts.

The program recruits Special Education students to spend the summer at Winnipeg Harvest caring for Harvest’s garden and sorting food in our warehouse.  Throughout the summer, Winnipeg Harvest welcomes groups of children and youth from summer camps and daycares for tours and work projects, and the Harvest garden is an important part of the experience.  The work that the Winnipeg School Division Urban Green Team does to care for our garden ensures we have the opportunity to teach visitors to Harvest about gardening.

The Winnipeg School Division Urban Green Team program participants get the opportunity to learn job skills, gain valuable work experience and to learn about gardening and food security.  The students are introduced to growing and enjoying healthy food and gain the pride that comes from caring for a plant through its lifecycle.