Upper Canada College’s Prep learning garden is looking better than it did last spring due to a concerted group effort and desire to give it more prominence.
The school has teamed up with The Backyard Urban Farm Company (BUFCO) to help with the garden — which still receives most of its input from Prep students, but also sees staff and faculty members and parents getting their hands dirty to help things grow.
The Year 4 and 5 Green Team club meets on Tuesdays and the Year 2 and 3 Sprouts club meets on Thursdays to work in the garden. Year 6 and 7 boys in Eco-Warriors also contribute. Some students have been involved with the clubs for a few years because they enjoy it so much.
There are also curricular links to the garden.
“The tomatoes that we planted are from Grade 6 science, where they did some seeding in the classroom and started growing them in the greenhouse area of the science lab,” says International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program coordinator Dianne Jojic.
Senior Kindergarten boys planted tomatoes and marigolds as part of their growing unit. Year 3 students planted corn, squash and beans, which were historically grown in Canada by First Nations people, to complement their classroom studies.
“They’re really learning a ton this year and are really involved in the planting, maintenance and cleaning,” says Jojic.
BUFCO is an organic vegetable landscaping company that builds, installs, plants and maintains edible gardens for clients throughout Toronto. Its goal is to ignite people’s passion for growing their own food and help them reconnect with nature.
BUFCO’s co-owners, Marc Green and Arlene Hazzan Green, visit UCC twice a week to work with the boys. Two of its gardeners come once a week and work on their own for two hours.
“We’ve weeded the garden,” says Jojic. “We’re turning beds and doing maintenance.
“BUFCO will maintain the garden through the summer and in the fall will partner with us again to help coordinate the clubs and harvest.”