Elementary students harvest 1,500 pound potato crop
Thursday, Oct 08, 2015 11:28 am
Nose Creek Elementary Grade 4 student Raja Shafei is starting to develop a green thumb.
Amongst approximately 100 classmates on Oct. 2, Shafei helped harvest close to 1,500 pounds of potatoes planted at Dixon Farms, located west of Airdrie – and though it was hard work, Shafei said the whole experience was “pretty cool.”
“It feels kind of (nice) to help some people who don’t have enough food,” he said. “It feels like we’re helping.”
The yield will be donated to the Airdrie Food Bank, and Lori McRitchie, executive director of the food bank, said the program gave kids an opportunity to volunteer and give back, often for the first time.
“It’s a really good way for them to broaden their outlook on community, and what it means to serve,” she said. “It sets the tone for a life of volunteering. (Plus), they get to do fun things.
“So it’s meaningful and it’s fun. We really believe it sets a tone.”
The program – dubbed Gardens Replenish Our World (GROW) – is run by Nose Creek Grade 4 teacher Wendy Dixon, who also owns Dixon Farms. She said the GROW program is meant to teach kids “bigger ideas.”
“We can work together for a common goal,” she said. “How can we assist or aid in helping others in our community?
“Not only are we meeting our curriculum needs, but also thinking about the bigger picture, extending their understanding beyond the classroom.”
As part of the program, the Grade 4 students will plant a new batch of potatoes in the spring to be harvested by next year’s Grade 4 students.
“It feels like we’re kind of helping, and giving the other (students) the chance to do what we were doing,” Shafei said.
The students will also spend time volunteering at the food bank.
“We’ve been doing this partnership as long as I’ve been at the food bank,” McRitchie said. “The (students) have been coming for 10 years. Some of those kids have graduated and come back.
“So for a lot of the kids, it gives them their first experience of what it is to volunteer and give back.”
“It made me feel happy,” said Madison Heer, another Nose Creek student. “It was fun. I like that there’s stuff that you can plant, and dig.
“And I (like) the colours.”