L-R: Donna Jongenotter (Educational Assistant), Kristy Sinclair (Early Childhood Educator), Brooklyn (student), Jill Gardiner (Principal), Mason (student), Amanda Kain (teacher)
Belleville, ON - Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Belleville has been selected as a recipient for a 2022 Nutrients for Life School Garden grant. This one-time payment of a $500 will be used by the School's Parent Council to build a flower and vegetable garden at the elementary school site, located in Belleville's west end. The need for funding is in response to the school's existing Peace Garden initiative needing a bit of support.
An Our Lady of Fatima parent and Parent Council member and supply teacher Kristy Sinclair is heading the initiative with the support of her colleague, Educational Assistant Donna Jongenotter. Together the pair researched a suitable grant opportunity, put together a plan and submitted their application.
“The goal is to revive our existing plot and make the space a more inviting environment for students to grow and learn," said Sinclair. The plans for the revised garden will include seating, a music wall and a program to support Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) Secondary School students in their accumulation of community hours, an OSSD requirement.
“Anything we can do to support our teachers and promote the development of creative, hands-on educational activities for our students is worth the investment of time and a little bit of elbow grease," said Sinclair.
Our Lady of Fatima School Principal, Jill Gardiner backs the project and is overjoyed the garden will act as a classroom resource for ALCDSB teachers. “We are always looking for ways to support our students in their learning. The garden promotes the exploration of our most basic food source, not only for its plant biology, but the School Garden Program is a jumping off point for more in-depth discussions around sustainability, modern agriculture and social and environmental issues that relate to food production," she said.
Nutrients for Life Foundation Canada was launched in 2008 to inform Canadians of the role of nutrients in both the production of abundant, nutritious food and the preservation of healthy green spaces. The Foundation supports public education to ensure plant nutrients are responsibly applied to meet society's need for safe, wholesome food, while protecting the environment and retaining natural areas for wildlife. Nutrients for Life has committed to fund school gardens in order to help connect youth to modern agriculture and agricultural practices, and provide them with an understanding of where our food comes from.
“The ACLDSB faith leadership I've observed in the staff and parent community at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School is exemplary, the work they do has enriched the student experience and has contributed to the betterment of the school community". Said David DeSantis, Director of Education.