Thursday April 22, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated at 5:45 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
As part of celebrating Earth Day, Island Social Trends has explored a special sort of educational initiative combined with local retail business leadership.
A group of SD62 schools in the west shore and Sooke –– their students and teachers — combined their efforts to produce seeds from their own project gardens. Teens planted the seeds in food studies classes and lessons were integrated into the work by a part-time Garden Coordinator who supports gardens at four high schools in SD62.
Seed was originally sourced from local growers, then germinated, plants grown, and new seeds harvested. Plant varieties were chosen for productivity and ease of growing. Seed quality parameters were about climate adaptability and having been germination-tested.
People in the community who grow things at home or in hobby gardens (and buy some of these SD62 seeds) are the benefactors, in addition to the students learning the important skills of food growing, production, and sustainability.
Retail exposure for student-grown seeds:
To support this project, people in the community can buy the seeds that are just one evident spinoff of this innovative project. You can do that at the Buckerfield’s retail outlet in Langford. Their store is easy to find at 104-975 Langford Parkway, with plenty of parking.
Inside the store you’ll find the SD62 school seed display, on some prime retail shelf space — quite a statement of support! Come prepared with cash in hand, as the purchase of these seeds requires $5 per packet, explains Buckerfield’s Langford store manager Scott Finlayson.
Pop your payment into the wooden box at the display and select your desired seed packet — beans and peas and more! You don’t have to go through the main store checkout, says Finlayson.
Students, teachers and schools:
“Many school participated, from elementary schools to secondary school and in both the Westshore and Sooke communities,” says SD62 communications rep Lindsay Vogan. She says the project was driven by a group of teachers throughout SD62 including Patrick Gale, Matthew Kemshaw, and Shannon Mills.
Proceeds of the sales will help support school gardens at four SD62 schools: Belmont Secondary, Royal Bay Secondary, Westshore Annex, and Edward Milne Community School.
“It was very much a large team effort which has produced something that the community is really excited about! We look forward to seeing it grow!”, says Vogan.
About Buckerfield’s Langford:
The Buckerfield’s Langford store is one of nine outlets in BC (five of which are on Vancouver Island) that provide a one-stop shop for finding all you’ll need for your home garden or hobby farm. All the stores are BC-owned. They keep reinvesting, opening new stores, and upgrading.
Welcoming the SD62 seed growing project is one example of openness to interaction within the community.
Buckerfield’s Manager Travis Young says the stores have a lot of focus on local needs. The range of products includes seeds and grass seed, plants, gardening gear and apparel, bird seed, pet food and more.
The COVID impact:
“Enriching the home gardening experience is what shopping at Buckerfield’s is about,” says Young. And during the pandemic this goal has been achieved for even more people. “COVID has been a very busy year…. we couldn’t keep anything in stock!” Things that were easy to grow sold out fast, he said.
Align veggie starters with outdoor temperature:
Young was surprised at the overall volume increase during the first year of COVID, and muses about how tomato plants were one of the most popular items for first-time gardens, given that tomatoes aren’t always the easiest plant to grow — mostly because people plant them too early before temperatures really warm up.
“People typically get started too early on that,” he says, noting that squash and peppers also prefer a warmer-temperature start.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends (previously West Shore Voice News, Sooke Voice News, and MapleLine Magazine). She has followed the news of the SD62 School District up close since 2014, including at the board and committee level. Her four children (now grown) over the years attended schools in SD61, SD62 and SD72.
===== RELATED LINKS:
SD62 Sooke School District – main website
Urban Food: Sorrel easy to grow (Island Social Trends – April 2, 2021)
Buy Local: Organic seeds & seedlings for urban gardeners (Island Social Trends – April 11, 2021)
Economic recovery entwined with supporting food security (with quotes from BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham – March 31, 2021)
BC economic recovery supports for farmers to help improve food security (Island Social Trends – December 1, 2020)