Program Objectives

Hands holding rocks

Our goal is to help young Canadians understand how STEM, environmental, and agricultural science can work together to improve the health of all the earth’s communities.

Students work with community gardeners, Elders, and science educators in garden spaces to learn through hands on experience about growing food crops and the science of plants, soil health, and environmental care. The primary objectives are to:

  1. help students acquire intercultural knowledge of environmental, climate, and plant-related science,
  2. motivate and foster care, curiosity, inquiry, and interest about plant, food, soil and environmental science, and
  3. assist teachers in delivering a living science component to their students to inspire interest in STEM. In conjunction with science knowledge acquisition, we focus on promoting caring practices toward the earth in our own backyards.

The program is particularly committed to involving those with low socio-economic status (SES), youth at risk, Indigenous youth, LGBTQ+, and recent immigrant and refugee families with little access to special science education facilities and programs. Teachers and students from low SES schools with limited resources are fully supported and provided with program materials and field equipment.

The program’s evaluation-research component seeks to understand students’ learning in the community setting of a school garden, and the ways this experience fosters care for and new relationships with the natural world. Our evaluation includes studying the challenges teachers face in melding out-of-classroom experiences with formal curriculum to assist them in inspiring interest in science and the environment, and motivating young people to develop agency and pursue careers in science that will make a difference in the future.