Students build garden boxes for community use

Practical skills and sustainability values nurtured with this local program

Students learned how to make these stylish boxes.

Students learned how to make these stylish boxes.

Students in Skeena Middle School teacher Matt Sydor’s shop class spent the better part of the spring building garden boxes, and earlier this month the class donated some of those boxes to the Ksan House Society Community Garden.

The class brought the boxes to Ksan two Thursday’s ago.

“I wanted them to have ownership of the project,” said Sydor, a first-year teacher who has built garden boxes like these before with a colleague in Kelowna.

The raised boxes will be used to grow carrots and beets, which will then be used to feed people in local shelters and schools.

Six boxes out of the 12 built were donated to Ksan, with the remaining six to be donated to other local groups, sold at upcoming Farmers Markets or remain stationed at the school.

“Some will stay at Skeena to start our own community garden,” he said.

“We’ll keep a couple here for certain programs to grow their own veggies and stuff. We have lunch programs, breakfast programs, we have a certain area of the school where students can work and eat to catch up on stuff.”

The Grade 9 classes have been learning about sustainability – it’s a “hot topic all over the school,” he said. And through this project they’ve also pocketed practical, basic building skills to carry forward into adulthood.

“The focus is sustainability,” said Sydor. “I’ve talked to them a bit about what the idea means, what the term means in general and what it can mean here in northern B.C. … We talk about the farmers market and buying local, other ways of doing that in the area.”

Locally sourced and milled cedar was used as the material for the boxes, which are six feet long and two feet tall with open bottoms so they drain straight into the earth.

The project was funded through a $2000 grant from the BC Teacher’s Federation, which when giving the bursary wants to see that the project benefits the community.