Grow a Garden, Feed a Community

Crawford Bay students and staff prioritize community

School garden projects teach students the basics of growing food, applying science principles to garden ecosystems and how to be better stewards of the natural world. Unfortunately for many schools around the District this spring, the suspension of in-school learning due to COVID-19 meant mostly working and learning at home, which in turn also meant fewer people, both staff and students, were available for garden upkeep.

And while COVID-19 kept students away from the school itself, it has also brought the issue of food security and gardening into light. People around the world are turning to gardening as a soothing, family friendly activity as people everywhere wonder whether lockdowns will slow the harvesting and distribution of some crops.

At Crawford Bay Elementary-Secondary School (CBESS), a group of dedicated teachers and staff committed to not letting the weeds take over and that the school garden should become a priority and not a subsequence. So this year, the former hobby garden for elementary students, has been re-built into a scaled up food share project for the larger Crawford Bay community.

In this close-knit rural area, the hard work and efforts of a small group of staff to prepare and grow the garden didn’t go unnoticed. One family in the community, with multiple connections to the school, conspired their own project to show just how much they appreciated the garden workers.

 “Both my son and daughter were missing school and especially the garden, so we went by the school to check out the improvements,” shared Lisa Wilkinson, an Educational Assistant at the school. Soon thereafter the old garden sign went missing.

With permission from one of the teachers on-site that day, Wilkinson and her kids took the sign home for some much-needed improvements. The sign quickly became a home-school educational activity that included their entire extended family. “The kids wanted to contribute somehow to the garden project, so they conjured a way to help since they couldn’t be at the school.”

With a little help from their parents, the sign project was undertaken by Issy, Jasper and Logan Thor (Grade 2), Ella (Grade 8), Kris (Grade 9), Logan (Grade 12), Freddie (pre-school) and even included other family members Rose and Brie.

The sign received some structural improvements and has been beautifully re-painted and decorated. In addition to the large sign, the family also made cedar wood cookie signs to thank all the people that have been working in the school garden this spring, painting and decorating each cookie with individual names in tribute.

Grade two student Issy wanted to make her teacher Ms. Lanaway cry ‘happy tears’.

These unprecedented times have led to so many inspiring and thoughtful projects that speak volumes about how communities demonstrate care for one another when faced with challenges.


For more information:

Rod Giles, Principal Crawford Bay Elementary-Secondary School


About The Board of Education of School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake):

The Board of Education of School District No. 8 provides educational services to numerous diverse communities in the East & West Kootenays, including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel and Yahk. Its dedicated team focuses on providing the best possible educational opportunities for over 5,400 students and their families. Its mission is to focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment.