Jan. 13, 2011, South River, Ont. – The Almaguin Community Greenhouse Committee is looking for help with a proposed greenhouse structure for the school. The following is a copy of their fundraising letter.
The Almaguin Community Greenhouse Committee is applying to your organization for funds. We want to erect a community/school greenhouse on the site of the new Almaguin Highlands Secondary School located between the villages of Sundridge and South River on Highway 11.
We believe that such a facility will bring great benefits to the Almaguin area.
The new Almaguin Highlands Secondary is designed to include many green initiatives. The addition of a greenhouse would enhance this design and provide many advantages for the school and the Almaguin community. The Ministry of Education rejected the funding of a greenhouse for our new school, which is to open in September 2011. The ACCESS committee, which was set up to enhance the school for student and community use, is a registered not-for-profit group. It supports the greenhouse project as one of the goals identified in a survey of Almaguin residences in 2009. We are a subcommittee of ACCESS whose task is to find financial sources for a greenhouse at the new school site. The school will be located on 63 acres of former farmland.
A greenhouse and garden would help provide fresh produce for the school’s culinary classes and the cafeteria. The community could enjoy reasonably priced and locally grown produce and the availability of fresh produce for the village food banks. Local horticultural groups would be able to grow their plants used in the beautification of the Almaguin communities. The interaction of community partners with students would benefit both groups. Other high school culinary courses throughout the Board would be very happy to have a reasonable source of fresh produce for their programs. The school’s forestry class would have a place to start seedlings for reforestation projects throughout the Almaguin area. Special Education classes would have a therapeutic, hands-on place to work with plants for the school’s flower gardens. The greenhouse would offer co-op students a placement to learn about the management and distribution of a produce enterprise. Environmental courses and science courses would find a greenhouse a helpful tool in learning. It is a very desirable addition for a rural, green school.
The development of a greenhouse and vegetable garden at the new Almaguin Highlands Secondary School has the potential to have many positive outcomes for the school community. Research linking school-based gardening initiatives to positive outcomes for students is promising. Associations reported that students who participated in school gardens showed the following benefits:
• Increased vegetable and fruit consumption.
• A willingness to try new vegetables and fruit.
• Increased preferences for vegetables and fruit among students who dislike them.
• Increased physical activity.
• Improved academic achievement.
Furthermore, this experience helps students get a good understanding of the bigger food system so that they may be better food consumers in the future. They will be able to understand the developing food issues facing all Canadians. School gardens can contribute to school food security by acting as effective education, by supplementing school food programs, by improving nutrition and by helping improve the general health of the students. It could encourage the development of local market gardens.
We would be very grateful to hear back from you if there is any program within your organization that might assist us with the funding of our project. It would be a shame to miss this opportunity to set an example for other schools to be able to blend student and community needs into a single cohesive plan.
Please free to contact us through Al Bottomley by phone at 705-384-5267 or email