Get your hands dirty!
Thanks to a project spearheaded by Concordia organization RacineCarrée, kids in a Montreal borough are learning how to grow their own food.
RacineCarrée is an experiential-learning initiative first conceived by engineering graduate Sherwin Pereira, MEng 15, and Leisure Sciences student Stefanie Blanchette. It brought undergraduates from the university together with students from École Martin-Bélanger in Lachine to design and build an indoor greenhouse.
Housed within Concordia’s Office of Community Engagement, RacineCarrée mobilizes primary school students, university students, alumni and community partners to overcome the social, economic and geographic barriers that contribute to Quebec’s low graduation rate.
"The project at Ecole Martin-Belanger that started last year is an example of sustainability in education," says Pereira. "It motivates primary school students to pursue higher education and also lets university students get their hands dirty for a social cause."
Now that the greenhouse is complete, the children are using it to grow herbs and vegetables, such as shallots, parsley and basil. Concordia students with RacineCarrée are still involved. In partnership with the Adoptez une école movement and the Groupe de recherche appliquée en macroécologie (GRAME), they’re providing workshops for the children on urban agriculture and sustainable development, while helping them tend to their seedlings.
“It’s a way to help the students become more conscious of what’s on their plates, and the whole process behind getting it there,” says Louis-Philippe de Grandpré, a member of the GRAME team, in the video (above) about the project, posted by the International Organization of Conscious Entrepreneurial Community Schools (OIECEC).
École Martin-Bélanger is a Conscious Entrepreneurial Community School (ECEC), which means it follows a teaching philosophy developed by Quebec educator Rino Lévesque.
It encourages educators to empower their students and develop their entrepreneurial spirit, while partnering with the community to contribute to "a new social, economic and environmentally friendly equilibrium."
Find out more about Concordia’s Office of Community Engagement.