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Local student advocates for garden project to feed high school students

Quinn Douglas, left and Stephanie Olsen, right, co-ordinator of CNP 40 Developmental Assets presenting to council for funding towards a tower garden for Crowsnest Consolidated High School. Pass Herald photo.

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Dec 13, 2023

Local student presents project to members of municipal council.

In a move to address food insecurity and foster healthy eating habits among students, Quinn Douglas from Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS) presented a groundbreaking project to the local council. The initiative, named the “Amazing Race Tower Garden Project,” aims to create water tower greenhouses within the school premises, revolutionizing the way students access nutritious food.

Douglas, reflecting on the project’s inception, shared, “A couple of years ago, we were putting together this kind of amazing race, little idea, and myself and three of my buddies came up with this idea to create this water tower, greenhouse kind of system in the school to help feed students.” 

The reason for the project lies in a dual purpose: nurturing students’ curiosity about cultivation and providing a sustainable solution to feed those facing economic challenges.

Douglas, representing CCHS and CNP 40 for The Amazing Race, introduced the project during a presentation to the council. As a graduating student, he expressed the team’s eagerness to expand on an idea conceived a few years ago. The focal point of the project is the creation of water towers that will facilitate year-round food growth, offering students a healthy alternative to traditional, often less nutritious, foods.

“Our main idea for this project was to give kids and students in this community a safe and healthy alternative to the foods they need now,” explained Douglas. The plan involves targeting Fridays, dubbed “soup days,” to provide students with healthier options, gradually expanding to incorporate morning lunch programs and other food initiatives.

The tower gardens will be operated and maintained by a dedicated garden class at CCHS, already familiar with hydroponics. This approach not only ensures a controlled environment for food growth but also shields the produce from external factors like frost, drought, and rough soil. The team aims to instill an appreciation for healthy food among students, enhancing their imagination and understanding of the world around them.

Douglas emphasized the long-term vision of the project, stating, “We ask for two water towers because we plan to grow these [crops] throughout the year.”

Drawing from past studies, the team anticipates a substantial yield, estimating that one water tower can produce around 100 cherry tomatoes in a single growth season.

The presentation received accolades from council members, who commended the initiative for targeting the entire school population rather than a specific demographic.

Council members acknowledged the importance of introducing skills and knowledge that extend beyond school, emphasizing the long-lasting impact on students’ lives. The unanimous approval of funding from the mill rate stabilization reserve, totaling $2049.20, marked a pivotal moment in realizing the Amazing Race Tower Garden Project.

The project not only promises to alleviate food insecurity among students but also shows the power of student-led initiatives in creating positive change within their communities. 

As CCHS paves the way for healthier, more sustainable practices, the Amazing Race Tower Garden Project serves as an inspiring beacon for schools across the region.

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