Fairgreen students develop a real passion for sustainability, health and wellness through our Urban Farming Programme.
Through various opportunities to farm, students grow their knowledge and passion for healthy foods, their understanding of the ecology of gardening, and come to understand how growing your own food contributes to sustainability. These hands-on learning and exploratory experiences develop our students to become participants in environmental stewardship.
Students learn about organic and sustainable food production technologies, including solar-powered vertical farms, aquaponics, and other urban farming techniques in our Urban Farming Room, by working in our garden plot within The Sustainable City (TSC) and by creating, planting and tending to our rooftop garden. Students also farm inside our biodome provided by TSC.
Urban Farming is embedded into Fairgreen’s curriculum across subject areas. We incorporate it into learning about photosynthesis, cells, nutrition, the scientific process, mathematics and cultural expression. When Fairgreen first opened, our secondary students set up hydroponic towers in our Urban Farming Room. Now, each year, students across different grade levels learn how hydroponic towers function and use them to grow herbs and vegetables.
For example, Grade 7 grow food at the start of their nutrition unit in Science and at the end of the unit they create a dish using some of those ingredients. They cook a healthy meal and present it in a cooking competition among their peers. Students focus on science content but also on the approach-to-learning skills that are embedded in the IB curriculum.
Each year, primary school students become ‘tower experts’ and help maintain the towers for early years students to enjoy and tend. Grade 4 and 5 students designed Fairgreen’s rooftop garden space, which is ever-growing and evolving. With the help of students across grade levels, the rooftop garden is planted and tended with new features continually being added to this space.
We utilize urban farming technology, resources and experiences to enhance student learning and as an opportunity to do sere learning. Food grown and harvested by our students has been donated to service staff members and neighbors and served at special school events, such as our annual Million Solar Stars competition. The opportunities promote the concept of “farm-to-table”; students learn to value selecting local ingredients, cooking at home as a family, avoiding processed foods, and valuing healthy food. We are enabling students to formulate a blueprint for wellbeing that will continue to serve them for the rest of their lives.
Our Urban Farming programme was modeled upon the successful experience of author, educator and Urban Farming education pioneer Stephen Ritz, who continues to guide and influence our dynamic curriculum.