1. What is involved with the Little Green Thumbs program?
Indoor Gardening Equipment
The Little Green Thumbs program will provide your classroom with an indoor garden grow kit, and a vermi-composting kit. The indoor garden grow kit includes a lighting system (grow light, ballast, fan, and reflector), 4 self-watering planters, seeds, pots, and soil. The garden will generally need a 4 x 8 table to accommodate the garden, however if you have more space, the light provides an 8×8 footprint to add other pots. The indoor garden grow kit is given to the school to keep, and should any components need replacement, the school can go through the Little Green Thumbs coordinator to receive replacement parts. The 1000 watt light bulb will need replacing, for a cost of around 80$ after 3 years.
Vermi-composting and other Resources
The second major component of Little Green Thumbs is the introduction of vermi-composting worms in 2 kits to encourage the reduction of food waste in your school. We will also be providing the classroom with resources such as books, posters, in-school activities, classroom sessions with the Little Green Thumbs coordinator, group sharing with other participating schools, and a Teacher’s Workshop to kick start the program. An exciting portion of the project are the Celebration Events, where schools have the opportunity to involve the community and other participating schools in sharing their experiences and stories about their year’s successes.
Passing on the Gift
A central component of Little Green Thumbs is its capacity to be self-sustaining and an agreement of “Passing on the Gift” is vital in achieving our vision: A Garden in Every School; A School in Every Garden. We are carefully selecting our schools based on geographical location, willingness to participate, and commitment to meet and evaluate the objectives of the program. The support from the administration and maintenance professional of the school is also very important for the successful implementation of the program; as the light in the grow kit adds an additional $150 per year to the school’s electricity bill.
We are requiring that all Little Green Thumbs teachers participate in the Teacher’s Workshop; which will be held in the fall in Saskatoon. This workshop is imperative for all the teachers to receive hands-on education about the project, demonstrations on how to set up the kit, background on the project and advice from the more experienced teachers, and a great opportunity to meet and discuss with the other teachers in the program. We will provide meals and all workshop fees.
2. Why are school learning gardens important in Saskatchewan?
It is the responsibility of our generation to give young people the tools to be successful in the challenges that await them. As environmental challenges are addressed in education, it is important that solutions are presented in a positive manner. Schoolyard gardening is a powerful tool to engage students in learning and caring about the environment. Program leaders from the National Gardening Association grant winners for outdoor gardens noted participant improvements in these characteristics for the 2008-2009 school year:
* 96% environmental attitudes
* 92% community spirit
* 89% self confidence
* 87% social skills
* 85% leadership skills
* 82% attitude towards school
* 81% volunteerism
* 77% nutritional attitudes
* 65% motor skills
* 63% scholastic achievement
3. How can our school get a gardening kit?
Your school can apply to be part of the program by filling in an application form on the website, or by contacting us for more information.
4. How much extra work is involved with the Little Green Thumbs SK program?
The Little Green Thumbs Saskatchewan program has been designed to be as user friendly as possible. This is a hands-on program that will add greatly to your classroom programming. There is a fair amount of commitment to the program, such as the Teacher's Workshop at the beginning of the year to learn how to use the kit. The most time intensive portions of the project are the Teacher Workshop (September or October), the Garden Set-Up in your classroom (either in September/October or January), Celebration Event preparation (March, April, or May), and the Evaluation and Clean-up at the end of the year (June).
Our coordinator will offer support to all schools to help troubleshoot with your gardens and set up.
5. Do the schools need to pay for the materials, workshops, or worm bins?
The Little Green Thumbs Saskatchewan program is very fortunate to receive funding from the Go Green, the Green Initiatives Fund from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment; the Eco-Action fund from the Federal Government; and as a project funded by Heifer International. Bayer Crop Science, Cenovus, Affinity Credit Union and the Saskatoon Co-Op are also important sponsors. Check out our Partners page for the most current information. As the schools progress through the program, they will be asked to pay for certain things. All schools are GIVEN the initial gardening materials, workshops, and worm bins. For the 2nd year schools, they are responsible for replacing some materials, but will receive some from the program at no cost. In the 3rd year, the schools will receive similar items to the 2nd year.
Please look at the Replacement Parts order form for further information.
6. How can my organization become part of AITC's School Garden programs?
7. When will you be selecting the new schools for the 2011/2012 school year and how many schools will be chosen?
We will be selecting schools for the 2012/2013 school year in April and May 2013. Our new schools will be informed that they are chosen by June 2011. For the 2012/2013 school year, we are bringing the Little Green Thumbs Saskatchewan program to 10 new schools, while continuing our support to the 60 schools who are already LGT-SK participants. We are expecting that we will be able to offer 5-10 new positions in the 2013/2014 school year.
8. What kind of programming and support is offered for the schools in their 2nd and 3rd years of Little Green Thumbs SK?
In the 2nd and 3rd years of Little Green Thumbs Saskatchewan, schools can expect to have funding for teachers to come to the Teacher's Workshop to continue their indoor gardening education, access to the Website and their Cluster blog, email and phone support from the Coordinator (and hopefully one visit per year). Schools can also anticipate some replacement parts to be covered by the program, as well as troubleshooting advice from experts in horticulture.
Please contact us with other questions you may have in regard to the program.