This spring the grade 7 ErdKinder class at Maria Montessori Education Centre partnered with Grow Calgary. Together we grew seedlings for the farm and learned about growing food in our own homes and backyards. Those of us at Grow Calgary are elated to see so many young farmers in training taking an interest in growing food! Our food system will be in good hands with these students at the helm!
Below are some of the students’ reflections on working with Grow Calgary.
Describe Your Experience of the Farm, Weather, Sowing the Seeds and Transplanting Plants
Despite the lousy weather, we all had a notable afternoon at the Grow Calgary Farm. My experience for the weather was completely different than I expected. I knew that the weather was supposed to be cold, but I didn’t think that it would be as cold as it was. Even though I was dressed nice and warm, my hands were almost numb from the cold. For sowing the seeds, I expected it to go a little differently than how it went. For watering the plants, I thought that you would just use a regular watering can and be done in about 5 minutes. But we actually used yogurt containers with little holes drilled on the lid so the water comes out like a watering can. Also for the actual taking care of the plants, we had to water the seedlings every morning and since plants grow towards the sun, we had to turn the trays around every so often. After the seeds were big enough, we all went to the Grow Calgary Farm to transplant them. My experience for transplanting the seedlings was harder than I thought it would be. It was hard because you had to find the roots of each little seedling and put it into another little box / container filled with more soil. Some were more difficult than others because many plants were intertwined with each other. In conclusion, Grow Calgary Farm experience, so far, has been memorable.
N.F. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 Student
On April 14th the Grade 7s from the ErdKinder class at Maria Montessori Education Centre went to Grow Calgary to transplant seedlings. We had grown them in our class for almost 2 months and they were coming along great. It definitely went quicker than I thought it would, and they started to get too big for them to grow in our small plastic greenhouses. While at the farm, since it was very cold, we used the greenhouses at their farm for warmth and trust me, it was definitely warm in there. It was a pretty good Urban Farm but there were some parts that could’ve been taken care of a bit better though like how there was a rake that could’ve hit you in the head if you stepped on it. The best part about Grow Calgary is that it supports 14 charities including the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. ‘Join The Farmy!’
M.U. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 Student
How Were You Feeling After the Farm Work and Planting Seeds?
Around February the 23rd Grow Calgary came to us and gave us the knowledge, help and supplies we needed to begin our germination. We had 16 plant trays planted with tomatoes, zucchini, scaloppini, corn and garlic. It was a lot of hard but fun work and learning. After the germination until April 7 we watered and turned the seeds until April 7. On April 7 we visited the farm for a few hours to transplant our plants. It was a lot of fun even if it was the coldest day of the week. We stayed warm in the greenhouse thanks to the greenhouse effect. All in all, the work at the farm was fun and satisfying to see our plants 1 stage further in its life.
S.P. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student
The trip over to Grow Calgary was amazing! On the morning of our departure, we left for the Grow Calgary farm on a city bus, we took three actually; and after one more long, bump-filled bus ride, we arrived at Grow Calgary, though it was slightly chilly, and looking past the frigid temperature, being at the farm was very exciting. The next two hours of our day flew by, and before I knew it, it was already time to leave. I was exhilarated as we walked over to our bus stop. The experience of transplanting our seedlings was great, even more so that we did it at the farm. My feelings were all over the place after the day was done, going from elated to slightly fatigued from all the planting and non-stop standing, but it was worth it to see the seedlings finally transplanted after months of attention, watering and growing in our small classroom greenhouses. Though the classroom felt empty the next day without the plants in the greenhouses, it was nice to know that the seedlings were planted and growing in the greenhouses back at the Grow Calgary farm. I hope to go back to Grow Calgary soon as I really did enjoy the experience I had at the farm
Anonymous, MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 Student
What Do You Expect from our Next Visit, from Grow Calgary, for Future Excitements, and for Working On The Harvest ?
For our next visit in Grow Calgary there are many possible options to do. Last time we transplanted our plants into pots. We had Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Corn. We are going to transplant our plants again into the ground, and harvest the plants that we grew. I am sure that it will be a fun experience. This year we will learn about structures, such as greenhouses. At Grow Calgary they had a shelter in which there were some plants growing, it was really cool to see how they do it. Volunteering at Grow Calgary was exciting and was a lot of work. “Join the Farmy!”
William, MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student.
How Did Your Expectations of the Germination, the Farm and People Differ from Your Experiences?
On February 23, 2016, Paul Hughes from Grow Calgary came to our school to plant some seedlings. He came wearing plaid, which is what I imagined a farmer or someone like him to wear. Planting the seeds was easier than I expected and we fit a lot of seeds in each of the trays! It took longer than I expected for the seedlings to sprout, but as soon as they sprouted, they grew very fast.
Once the seedlings were big enough, we took the city bus to Grow Calgary. I’ve been to C.O.P many times, but I’ve never noticed that there was a farm just west of it. When we first got to the farm, I was a little bit taken back. Everything had been repurposed or handmade. We checked out the greenhouses, which were also smaller than I expected but they definitely worked! Transplanting into bigger pots was surprisingly easy and more fun than I expected as well. It was a great experience to have and I look forward to harvesting the plants in the fall!
K.U. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student
~Expectation VS Experience~
I definitely had different expectations for from how long it would take to what the farm looked like. For starters, I thought it would take a lot longer for the seeds we planted to start growing. It was really engaging to see the seedlings go from smaller than my pinky to bigger than my hand. I also thought the Grow Calgary Farm would look way more rustic, but it was more like where my grandma took me to plant her potatoes and tomatoes, which brought back good memories. The weather was also colder than I expected, so I spent most of my time inside huddling around the heater and planting in their untill I regained my heat. Soon enough the sun came out and I enjoyed helping out in the very slight warmth. All in all the experience was really enjoyable and I’m looking forward to going back later this spring and in the fall (or during harvest season).
A.B. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student
Thank you to everyone at Maria Montessori Education Centre for their enthusiasm and participation!