Groundswell develops and delivers school programming in four theme areas with emphasis on Applied Sustainable Living Skills:
1. Plants and Food – e.g. horticulture, plant evolution & diversity, nutrition, food preparation & preservation, animal husbandry;
2. Water and Waste – water conservation, composting, vermiculture, recycling;
3. Energy and Transportation – renewable energy technology, conservation of energy, climate & energy use, green transportation;
4. Community Development- economic diversification, Youth employment, long-term community sustainability planning.
The Community Greenhouse is open year round except for the cool, dark months of December and January. It is a hub of activity not only for programs, food production but community groups find it an inspiring oxygen rich environment for meetings. Volunteers, visitors to the valley, neighbours enjoy dropping by, and often leave with a bag of salad greens. Contact us to discuss and book your school and community program needs today! Thank you to the many past partners and supporters of our School and Community Programs.
“Let’s move together towards a future that is more tasty, nutritious, fun, inclusive, innovative and less wasteful”
Rob Avis, Verge Permaculture
Through the Child’s Eyes…
Imagine walking into a greenhouse 18 foot high, 100 feet long and 30 feet wide. It is warm, filled with plants and smells good. Ten months of the year the Community Greenhouse stays a comfortable 15-25 degrees C, with shady areas set up for hotter afternoons. Raised beds are growing a variety of vegetables and some beautiful flowers. There are benches, tables and chairs but groups rarely sit, because there is so much to do and see. This is the Community Greenhouse learning laboratory. Throughout the year, people of all ages come to engage in applied sustainable living skills. At the Community Greenhouse programming is offered for all ages. From weekly pre-school ‘plant and plays’ to evening and weekend courses on permaculture, backyard chickens, vermiculture (composting with red wiggler worms), greenhouse design, vegetable growing. Cheese or bread making, film nights, farmer’s markets, harvest dinners and more are offered locally and seasonally by Groundswell.
Groundswell’s first school programs started in 2003 in the Heritage Garden for the local primary classes until they started a garden near their school in 2006. In 2007 and 2009, we began spring and fall programs at Edible Acres offering K to grade 7 students learning opportunities on the farm in Windermere. Groundswell’s Community Greenhouse opened in 2009, and has become the center for our school programming but we still offer field trips to local farms, community and school gardens. Elementary school groups learn about topics like composting and work in groups doing horticulture, art or writing or games. Programs are designed in consultation with each teacher about curriculum learning outcomes, current projects and specific learning needs of the class. The hands-on, experiential part is dynamic and non-didactic. It could be called ‘this is what is happening now’ or ‘it might get messy’ depending on the season and crops at the Community Greenhouse or outside in the Permaculture Garden.
Students from David Thompson Secondary School adjacent to the Community Greenhouse have the opportunities to engage through teacher’s initiatives in art, writing, science and leadership classes. The DTSS Chef Training participate in sowing, growing and harvesting produce through the school year to prepare and serve in their ‘Rocky Mountain Café’ featuring healthy food. Youth also find personal career and skill development opportunities with Groundswell through volunteering and employment. We employ youth during the school year and summer break in our Sustainability Internship Program that strengthens their training in all aspects of horticulture, greenhouse and business management and sustainability education.