ST. PETER’S: A special inter-generational initiative is teaching children about the importance of food security, sharing time with their elders and volunteerism.
Last week, East Richmond Education Centre (EREC) Grades 4 and 5 students, as well as those involved with the SchoolsPlus program, gathered at the Richmond Villa to get their hands dirty alongside Richmond Villa residents and continue to learn about food “from seed to feed.”
At the April 19 Easter Fun Day event (which is a Make a Wish Foundation fundraiser) in St. Peter’s, volunteers placed seeds in cardboard toilet paper rolls that had been collected through the Community Skill Exchange – Richmond County Time Bank. The seeds were then moved to the elementary school where, Time Bank coordinator Tara Paon notes, they were in good hands.
“In the classrooms at the school they’ve been growing them and learning about nutrition and how plants grow and what’s involved with that,” she said, adding teachers have told her how well the students are caring for the plants.
“The kids blow on the plants gently because they have learned plants absorb carbon dioxide, so in order to help them grow, they blow on them gently and they sing to them and in the morning they take them for walks.”
Last week a group of eight seniors who reside at the Richmond Villa were joined by 11 kids and several community volunteers to move the seedlings into larger containers and begin weeding the Helping Hands Community Garden to prepare for planting.
In June, the participants will plant the seeds in the garden, which is located at the Richmond Villa. Much of the food grown is then distributed to the community through the St. Peter’s Food Bank.
SchoolsPlus program facilitator Tara Gale-MacLeod noted the initiative has many facets.
“Our Learning Through Generations program planted more and we’re going to take them, put them in the garden and then we’ll harvest them and they’re going to use that food in the fall to make preserves and then we’ll donate it to a community member in need.”
The initiative is a partnership of the Richmond Villa, East Richmond Education Centre and its SchoolsPlus program, the Community Skill Exchange – Richmond County Time Bank and its seed bank project, located at the St. Peter’s library.
Paon and Gale-MacLeod also note their gratitude to Debbie MacDonald from the Greenhouse Co-op in St. Peter’s for donating a number of plants and other supplies to the learning project.