A Brief History and Introduction to Today

The idea of the Sardis Secondary School Farm (SSSF) started in 2010; the first crop was seeded in the spring of 2014. This 5-acre ALR property is in Chilliwack, BC, and has become a place of Garden-Based Learning (GBL) for students ranging from grades K-12. Sardis Secondary School’s Agriculture Program spear headed the development of the space, creating a multifaceted learning space that contributes the BC’s agriculture economy.

Students planting seeds at Sardis Secondary School Farm
Secondary Students Planting Potatoes

The SSSF is a dynamic area where elementary students have a raised bed informal classroom, middle school students have a 60’X60’ field space for learning, and the high school students attend the rest of the property. Unique features of the property include an industrial-like berry section, an edible pollination landscape, a perennial food garden (for bees and people), four massive garden beds (approximately 2 acres), and a large corn field. The Sardis Agriculture students participate in selecting the seeds for the garden, prepare the beds for growing, set-up and repair the irrigation, as well as care for and harvest the produce. Produce grown on the farm provides students with a Farm-to-Table experience, as they take products home and share with their families. The Culinary and Foods classes at Sardis Secondary School also receive vegetables from the program and use them in their classes, learning about the freshness of locally harvested produce.

 Secondary Students Planting Potatoes at SSSF Chilliwack
Secondary Students Spacing & Planting Potatoes

This year, West Coast Seeds donated an abundance of seed to our program, providing us with an opportunity to reach further into our community and feed more families. Thirty-five families picked up weekly vegetables grown by our students and in exchange they helped to fund a few new components of the farm, including our fourth garden bed irrigation system and our supplies for our culinary portion of our Summer School Program.

secondary students harvesting romaine lettuce at SSSF
Secondary Students Harvesting Romaine

We also welcomed the addition of an Elementary and middle school cohort to our Summer School Program 2021. Seeds provided by West Coast Seeds are fundamental to the survival of our SSSF, setting the foundation for all our learning opportunities surrounding Sustainable Vegetable Production and Food literacy and Security.

Secondary Students Packaging Produce at SSSF
Secondary Students Packaging Produce

The SSSF is a location that is used to meet the following three big ideas:

1. Expand educational experiences to placebased learning.
2. Create an educational experience that reflects horticulture practices in BC.
3. Create an agricultural space for learning that includes ALL levels of education from Kindergarten to post-secondary using the 5-acre Farm.

Containers of produce grown at Sardis Secondary School Farm, Chilliwack
Produce for Community Fundraiser

The Impact of the Program

The SSSF hosts over 150 elementary students a year, around 200 middle school students, and 200 high school students. These students are in direct contact with the SSSF and the tasks stated above.

 Secondary Students Gathering Food to Take Home at SSSF Chilliwack
Secondary Students Gathering Food to Take Home

There are hundreds of more students who are indirectly impacted by the farm’s practices; students who cook the produce in our cafeteria and foods programs during the harvesting months. This year we have been providing extra food to Chilliwack Bowls of Hope, a group that provides our school district with soup for hungry students; and we provide food to other charitable donations or create harvest fundraisers.

Elementary Students Building Mason Hotels at SSSF Chilliwack
Elementary Students Building Mason Hotels

Our goal is to create awareness around sustainable food development, security and literacy, both with our students and within the community. As we continue to network with amazing companies like West Coast Seeds, we can reach more and more people with food and expand our story and lessons around local food production.

Farm to Table Day at SSSF Chilliwack
Farm to Table Day

The Healthy Impacts of Gardening

The SSSF is surrounded by beautiful views in a wide open space; here students are immersed in nature. They are digging in the dirt and cultivating life, life that they later benefit from eating. Learning outside with hands-on activities related to food production increases healthy interactions with food. Gardening on the SSSF is full of activities and movements, interaction with community (both ecological and social), discoveries and achievements. Students can interact with one another and learn about the importance of ecological services, such as composting and pollination, and then relate these services to their existence through food production. Gardening provides students with an opportunity to connect to their local environments and learn how to care for food that will one day provide for them. At the SSSF students interact with members from the community who are also enjoying the benefits of local fresh food, thus advancing their social interactions and acquiring skills for the workplace.

Secondary Students Gathering Food for Home at SSSF Chilliwack
Secondary Students Gathering Food for Home

The food grown at the SSSF is grown in an environmentally healthy way, thus providing students with safe and healthy food to share with their families. Many of the students and community members are exposed to food items of different color and shapes than they would naturally know or purchase, even vegetables they have never heard of or tasted. Summer school students at the SSSF learn how to cook with our Culinary teacher, thus introducing them to new ways to prepare vegetables. Students who visit the farm are encouraged to take food home and cook and eat with their families, a practice we hope is bringing people together.

Community Relationships in the garden at SSSF Chilliwack
Community Relationships

Facts of Interest
The SSSF is in operation because members of the community, district, and business sector support us. The donations of products, money, expertise, work and time all make it possible for us to continue to provide students with these types of learning opportunities. The cost of running the program, transporting students to the location, combating problems and continuing to expand towards our final vision are extensive.

Sardis Secondary School Farm & Agriculture

For more information on the Sardis Secondary School Farm, click the links below: