Since 2009, we have been implementing GROW workshops in schools across the Kingston and area. To date, we have reached thousands and thousands of students. In 2022 alone, we reached 103 Educators, 1,300 students, and 23 schools through 35 workshops.
The school community, and the community more broadly, really value The GROW Project for its ability to meet children and youth where they are at. We bring meaningful, hands-on learning to students to teach them the power of good food, community, collaboration, and environmental stewardship.
In a recent evaluation with Educators, we learned more about why GROW Workshops are important to Educators and their students. Here is why they chose to participate in The GROW Project:
• 100% to offer their students hands-on experiential activities
• 83.3% to support their students to learn about the food system
• 83.3% to support community connections
• 79.2% to support their students to learn about environmental sustainability
Workshops also take students and Educators to our urban agriculture sites so participants can literally get their hands dirty! Students learn about seeds, harvesting, the power of community, and food systems in general. Children and youth typically leave GROW workshops feeling grateful, curious, inspired, and tired!
Educators witnessed students stretch their comfort zones by trying a new activity, a new food, and, better yet, working together with one another to accomplish a common goal. Below are a few highlights from a recent evaluation:
• 97.4% agreed or strongly agreed that the activities were supportive of the curriculum.
• 94.9% agreed or strongly agreed that they saw their students trying new things during the activities.
• 92.3% agreed or strongly agreed that the students had a unique opportunity to connect with nature during the activities.
• 89.7% agreed or strongly agreed that the students were actively engaged during the activities.
• 87.2% agreed or strongly agreed that the topics covered were new to the students.
• 69.2% agreed or strongly agreed that they saw their students collaborating with one another in new ways.
We see many tangible benefits from Educators and students who participate in The GROW Project. One student said, “Being in the garden makes me feel happy and relaxed.” While another student exclaimed, “I can’t believe I actually like kale!” These may seem small, but it is moments like these that we remember for a long time… And we know, deep down, that these moments will create lasting change within the lives of the students we engage through The GROW Project.
We believe students will go on to do great things for themselves and their communities. This is a big vision, but we are pretty passionate about it and so are Educators. One Educator said that "things like The GROW Project will change the world. This is where we need to put our energy.” We certainly agree too!