LAND OPPORTUNITY: School Farm Project with Infrastructure Provided – Nanaimo, BC

Posted by Azja Jones Martin on September 30, 2021

We have more land opportunities than what is listed here! Get in touch with a Land Matcher at land@youngagrarians.org to access our full land inventory and B.C. Land Matching Program support in your region.

ABOUT THE LAND

The farm site is located on the grounds of Woodlands School in Central Nanaimo. The area available for cultivation is approximately 5000 square feet of flat land (currently in grass) with southern exposure, in front of the school and with road frontage.

Water access will be municipal, running from the school, and full perimeter deer fencing will be constructed this fall. A storage room is available for the farmer’s use, as well as wash sinks inside the school building. Additional storage shed, wash station, greenhouse or any other infrastructure needed for the farmer’s operation can be constructed in collaboration with the School District.

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY

This is an opportunity for an experienced, community minded grower with a passion for sharing farming knowledge and enthusiasm with students on-farm. Ideally the farmer is already based in the Nanaimo area, but growers from other regions are welcome to apply.

Infrastructure and tools required for the operation will be covered by a limited grant from Farm to School, and will be decided on in consultation with the farmer. Depending on what tools, infrastructure and equipment the farmer sees as required, there may be a need to work together to access other funding resources.

Food grown by the farmer on the school farm site will be purchased in part by the school district for use in their food studies, culinary arts programs and meal programs when school is in session, and all other produce will be sold by the farmer through their own marketing channels.

Ecological and regenerative farming practices are to be used as much as possible, ideally incorporating no-till practices, and no chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. Indigenous land use and traditional food systems will also be incorporated into the site (outside of the farmer’s production areas) and will involve local community partners with this knowledge.

Scheduled classes and programs for students will run on-farm throughout the growing season, and students will always be accompanied by teachers. Teaching is done primarily by the teachers, but the farmer must be willing to engage with the classes. The farmer and any of its volunteers, guests or employees intended to interact with students must get a criminal record check and follow the school district’s employee code of conduct (no smoking, drugs).

More information on the School Farm Project and its guiding vision and goals:

The establishment of this school farm has been made possible by Farm to School BC, a program of the Public Health Association of BC, which brings healthy, local & sustainable food into schools and provides students with hands-on learning opportunities that develop food literacy, while strengthening the local food system & enhancing community connectedness.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools District is excited to be launching its school farm at Woodlands, and is looking for a farmer with shared values and interests to lead the farm’s production.

The school district is guided by their Syeyutsus Reconciliation Framework, which honours the importance of: the land as our teacher, establishing a sense of belonging and connectedness to each other and to the environment and strengthening our relationships. These elements are the vision for the farm.

The school district feels that teaching and sharing agriculture and food literacy to the next generation, through a hands-on experiential approach, is the most effective way for them to create a more resilient local food system and for us to adapt to climate change. Students need to know where their food comes from, who grows it, and how food production effects our economy, environment, technology, and lifestyle.

They want their students to have exposure to farming to learn about and gain skills around the scientific processes, future careers, health, environmental and community benefits associated with farming and agriculture. They want their students to be prepared and equipped to contribute to climate, food and health challenges in the future. Taking on these challenges require a diverse group of innovative individuals with exposure/experience and farm/food experiences and knowledge to participate in ongoing meaningful dialogue.

Their hope is that their students’ involvement in the farm would inspire and help develop skills that inspire them to consider farming, agriculture, food careers and/or participate in urban gardening.

The goal is for the farm to be a space that:

  • is an inviting, welcoming, collaborative learning space for all
  • respects and incorporates the knowledge and traditions of the Snuneymuwx People
  • implements the First People’s Principles of Learning
  • where knowledge, skills, innovation, and ideas are freely shared and exchanged
  • where students are involved hands-on with food and learning from the land and its stewards and those with rich experience and relationship with the land
  • is purposeful, relevant, and valued by the community
  • facilitates the learning of agricultural and food literacy
  • becomes part of the local and NLPS food system and improves food and nutrition security
  • is a teaching tool that inspires stewardship, responsibility and environmental decision making

Project goals:

  • To provide real life, hands-on, relevant opportunities to connect curricular competencies and gain skills and knowledge in urban agriculture practices.
  • To create locally developed curriculum (transferable course credits) to compliment the context of the farm and its operation.
  • To include farm/agriculture and food literacy and skills in our students’ curriculum.
  • To provide exposure to potential farm/food related careers.
  • To involve and meet programming needs of our diverse student population.
  • To become a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability by:
    • Increasing learning opportunities for students/staff on climate change and sustainability
    • Increasing learning opportunities for outdoor education and programming
    • Addressing our students and families’ food and nutrition security needs for our students and their families. Implementing a food security initiative involving community partners
    • Increasing our students’ food literacy by offering programs that have hands-on experiential food literacy education, access to local food, a connection to where food comes from and healthy eating as a focus.
    • Increasing long-term health outcomes that are tied to increased food literacy.
    • To provide opportunities for as many students as possible to grow food, prepare food and learn from local foods. For students to learn about and become interested in our local food system.
  • To improve connectedness and sense of belonging in our community.
  • To strengthen relationships with community partners/stakeholders.
  • The project will be 90% self-sustaining after 3 years of remediation.

GET IN TOUCH

This land opportunity is available through the B.C. Land Matching Program. Reach out to the Vancouver Island Land Matcher at azja@youngagrarians.org to start a conversation and learn about next steps.

Learn more about the land (and other Land Listings in your region) on the Young Agrarians UMAP. For more about the B.C. Land Matching Program, please visit youngagrarians.org/land

The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded on Vancouver Island by the Province of British Columbia, with support from Cowichan Valley Regional District and Patagonia.

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