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Hard work and community support result in productive CJES garden

Having a garden provides students with the opportunity for an authentic, hands-on learning experience 

CANORA — As has become a tradition, Canora Junior Elementary School once again grew a successful garden this year.

When the garden was first created a number of years ago, it was called "The Soup Garden," according to Jennifer Prychak, teacher. "Over the years we have used the garden as a quiet space for students to sit, a place to get into the dirt to play and explore, and a place to plant and grow flowers, vegetables and fruit."

Having a garden provides students with the opportunity for an authentic, hands-on learning experience 

"They learn about healthy eating, food growth, the environment and to make real connections to life skills," said Prychak. "It promotes problem solving and critical thinking as well as co-operation, ownership and pride. Students are invested in the garden because they planted and watered the seeds and plants, and have watched the plants grow and produce." 

Back in June, CJES approached Nutrien Ag Solutions seeking a partner for maintaining and growing this year's garden.

"Very quickly, Nutrien agreed to support the CJES garden project with a generous donation of $1,500," reported Prychak. "Thanks to their support, the school was able to hire a student to maintain the garden over the summer and as a result we have harvested beautiful vegetables and fruit. The school plans to use the vegetables to make soup to share with students."  

Teachers took their classes out in the spring to plant and watered the garden until school was out in June. For the months of July and August, the SCC (School Community Council) hired a student, thanks to the donation from Nutrien, to care for and maintain the garden. This past summer Heidi Mentanko, a former CJES student, was the caretaker. 

"Heidi's mom Lauren helped her pick and process the produce that was ready prior to school returning in September," said Prychak. "In September, students came back to a beautifully cared for space."

This past season the garden produced: tomatoes, peppers, onions, and raspberries as well as flowers. 

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