Wednesday, 10 September 2014

With a Beautiful Summer Comes Beautiful Memories

 School is in full swing! The garden is filled with just as many ready to learn students and excited teachers as there are vegetables to harvest. Students are planning schoolyard farmers markets, English classes telling creation myths around bonfires, French classes baking baguettes and making multi lingual plant identification signs, art, dance and photography students recording dancing and sketching the fall beauty that inspires them. With so much happening its hard to think back to the month of august but oh what an important month in the garden it was. With so many people pouring their sweat into the garden we have been able to create a truly amazing space, to learn, to eat, and to share in! August was full of bountiful harvests, farmers markets, garlic, cob ovens, chickens, friends, skateboarding, pollinators, pizzas, beans, and amazing memories. With the help of our summer interns and students who logged over 900 community service hours we were able to have the most productive month ever at the JPCI Garden. Wildlife has consumed this once sterile space. The garden has brought with it monarchs, families of goldfinches, downy woodpeckers, minks, hawks, and falcons.  What is learned in the garden has been used in all aspects of our volunteers life's. Teaching each other how to build bikes so the students newly off to college can commute and empower themselves everyday. We influence each other everyday to do more and to do better and when you are constantly surrounded by such amazing folk its hard not too!    

Garlic bunched and drying for fall planting
Patti found a Rabbit! Love at first sight
Mushrooms growing from our walkways
Corn, cover cropped rye, potatoes, sunflowers and are freshly painted shed!

row and rows of leeks!
butterfly bed 

beds of fall crops, buckwheat, and daikon radish

our bee sanctuary

can you find our camouflaged bud? 


This Month with help from Iris and Guido, Permaculture friends from Brazil, we build a new cob oven in the garden! Using only recycled materials, bricks from a demolished home, an old food grade steel drum, bbq racks, door hinges, broken bus sign, and clay dug from the garden we were able to build a Chilean inspired barrel oven! All the heat comes from a firebox below the drum where it is pulled up along the hollow space outside the drum and out the chimney. The oven heats up to 400 degrees in 15 mins and can get up to 600 degrees! Once your done cooking the cob and brick hold the heat so that you can continue to bake, make kale chips, or dry herb for hours after the fire has died out!
adding the clay bricks ar

Breaking down the clay and adding straw to make bricks!

Showing volunteers from sketch how the oven works!

This is a true "garden pizza"

adding more mass to hold in the radiant heat!

With the help of volunteers we have finished building our outdoors kitchen with a sink!


The true superheros are all the volunteers who learned how to maintain our large compost heaps. I would argue that we have one of the most efficient compost system of any school in Canada. We are constantly turning over 1000 of pounds of food waste and garden waste into usable compost every season. Saving our landfills and building our soils. The true heros are the ones who put on there compost shoes weekly to turn, smash, and water our ever morphing heaps!

Some of the colours of our pole beans

hundreds of community members and organizations have helped pick beans for themselves and local foodbanks this season!


tomatoes and salad mix
Aga finishing the final touches for the weeks stand

Two first places for john lennon the eggplant and octocarrots!
The Grow too Learn Team after a hard days work we still find time to get together and share stories and goals!
Lots of people have been taking notice of PACT! All of the TDSB Superintends and Board of Directors made it out to the garden for early morning tours and a wood fired breakfast!

Sometimes after doing all of that; you just need to rest in a hammock with a new friend!

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