Co-create Welcoming and Inclusive Spaces
School food gardens come in many shapes and sizes, reflecting and respecting the specific needs, resources, capacity, and uniqueness of each school community. School food garden should be accessible, inclusive and inviting spaces that allow for people of all ages, cultures, abilities, and backgrounds to participate to their fullest potential. School food garden can be part of our commitment to honouring the principles of Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. All involved in the garden are able to contribute ideas, knowledge and wisdom and to find solutions to challenges.
Each school community is different and requires a unique approach to building and maintaining a successful garden.
• Students, staff and community volunteers, provide input on the activities and garden structure to ensure that these reflect community values and capacity.
• Respect and showcase diversity through the variety of food grown in the garden and through cultural celebrations surrounding food.
We are all Treaty People:
School food garden acknowledge and examine the historical Mi‘kmaq stewardship of the land and waters and the ongoing relationship with the Mi’kmaq to the land.
• School food garden explore our mutual roles and responsibilities to each other and this land as treaty people.
Inclusive and Inviting Spaces:
Use garden spaces to design interactive learning opportunities that are fun and engaging for all types of learners. The diversity of the school community should be reflected in the garden. Gardens can be more welcoming and inclusive by taking into consideration:
• Adaptability. The design of the garden takes into account that people have different physical needs, so that people of all ages, abilities and cultures can participate.
• Ease of Access. Post signage in different languages and with clear pictures, ensuring information about the garden is welcoming to all.
We are all Treaty People: Through principles of Treaty Education, students can explore the interconnections and relationships the Mi’kmaw people have with the land, water and animals. How do sharing and cooperation contribute to positive relationships in the garden? Invite an Elder or Knowledge Keeper or Water Protector to the garden to explore Mi‘kmaq stewardship of the land through storytelling and sharing. Every day is an opportunity to learn about and uplift Mi’kmaq culture and traditions. However, there are opportunities throughout the year to make an extra effort to learn about and acknowledge our shared history; Treaty Day (Oct 1), Mi’kmaq History Month (October) and National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21). For information and resources about Treaty Education curriculum in Nova Scotia, visit novascotia.ca/treaty-education/
Story from the Field: Growing Respect
Our Outdoor Classroom and Community Garden has become an active space that is utilized by the community most of the year. From early spring start-up activities, outdoor movie nights, to late fall harvest and clean-up, this space has become a community centerpiece for activity and interaction. Children, families, schools and other community groups are coming together to maximize the use of this space by focusing on community spirit and pride in the project. Before the Outdoor Classroom and Community Garden there was an abundance of criminal activity taking place at the school. There hasn’t been a broken window at the school, nor has there been any visible crime taking place on the school grounds since the project has been completed. And now, instead of chowing down on chips and chocolate bars, the youth are very eager to fill up their baggies with fresh beans, peas, cherry tomatoes, spinach, etc. The youth then go home with the fresh vegetables which then encourages the parents to partake in the Community Garden.- Garden Leader
Resources for Co-create Welcoming and Inclusive Spaces