Gladstone Secondary Greenhouse for Science and Foods Programs
September 27, 2012
Gladstone Secondary is a public school in Vancouver in one of the most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods in Canada. We have students from very mixed socioeconomic and family backgrounds including many at risk youth.We have a school population of approximately 1200 students.We have started a garden at the school and use the produce from the garden in our foods program that runs the school cafeteria. This is a limited venture in part due to the short growing season and also due to lack of funds but we have been searching for ways to support it. Many students volunteer in the school's garden club to keep the garden going and to get educated about the benefits and methods of growing our own food and because they enjoy being part of a club that is welcoming, non-judgmental and gives them somewhere to go after school on a regular basis. The Science department at the school is keen to involve the students in the biology of plants, learning about creating best conditions for growth, investigating natural pest control systems and micro-ecosystems and conduct experiments around these topics.Our proposal is that we build a greenhouse at the school large enough to accomodate 30 students. It will provide Science teachers an area to use for their lessons and space for the foods program to continue to grow food throughout the year. We have an area of the school mapped out and the support of the principal. Our Parents Advisory Committee is on board and we are looking at ways to raise the funds. We will need to raise enough money to properly bring this idea to fruition including ground preparation, installation and all the electrical and plumbing. Our current quotes for budget are $27,000 from BC Greenhouse for the greenhouse and $35,000 from the Vancouver School Board for the preparation of the site including laying of the foundations, permits, heating and all the electrical and plumbing.We estimate the electrical to add up to about $12,000 so we intend to split the project into two phases where we would use the money from Aviva for phase one and leave the second phase of completion regarding electrical(about $12,000) for phase two.This means we would be looking to access the Aviva funds of $50,000 for phase one resulting in the building of the greenhouse. We have a variety of avenues we can negotiate with and also some fundraising options including partnering with Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House and the Environmental Youth Alliance as well as possible in-house solutions to getting the extra $12,000. We have been exploring other quotes from other greenhouse builders too and will continue to do so.Our idea will influence the whole school as its in a very public square and is able to be seen from many points. Many Science classes will use it and conversations about it have been ongoing since we started this adventure. The garden club and the foods program students are excited to think they may soon be able to use it and have been reassured by the fact we have made the finals.