It took me back. As I walked through the grade school doors of Vista Hills Public School, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the good old days of elementary school. Looking back on all the recesses spent playing soccer, all the times I sat in my desk thinking about how boring math class was, how much fun gym class was and even the times we spent in the principal’s office over a fight about stickers. But as I thought about the past, I realized it was time to think about the future. I scanned the sea of kids surrounding the Greenhouse Education Center (GEC), and I was excited. Not only was I excited to share the knowledge that NatureFresh™ Farms and our team had prepared for the students, but also to see what the new generation of bright young minds would take from this experience. The bell rang and all the kids quickly shuffled into the school to take attendance, and then the first group of kids came outside to check out our mobile greenhouse! Honestly, I was surprised by the engagement of the students. They asked many questions and seemed to be very interested in what was going on. Some more than others, but the information we gave was definitely getting across. As Tyler “made it rain” stickers, the students became very attracted to the bees. The lineup to see the bees was around the corner! We played guessing games with the kids, asking “how many bees do you think are in here?” Some said 2000 but realistically there were only 100. We took this opportunity to tell them how we use bees in our greenhouse and the difference between Honey Bees versus Bumble Bees. But most importantly, the students learned about how big of a deal pollination is to the greenhouse eco-system. As our visit to Vista Hills ended, we packed up our mobile greenhouse and began to anticipate the next stop on our trip.
The next school we visited really took me back, because the principal at Belle River Public School was not only our team member Jack’s mom, but my own former principal at Ruthven Public School. It was like I was in grade school all over again. I was quite nervous to see her again considering she was the one sorting out our sticker fights back in grade 3. But it was a good feeling seeing her again and talking to her students came natural to our team. We really connected with these kids, and being that Jack’s mom was the principal, he got to enjoy celebrity status all day.
All in all, visiting schools was a great experience. We taught the kids the difference between organic and non-organic growing practices, the importance of Integrative Pest Management, and our own growing processes. There’s no doubt that the students we talked to at schools and water festivals showed interest in NatureFresh™. With full school careers ahead of them to plan their future, and a high level of interest about NatureFresh™ Farms, it seemed as though some of these young students might just end up working in the greenhouse industry one day. The team handled the education of students extremely well, the conversations were natural, the kids were engaged, and we truly enjoyed every minute of it. I can’t wait for our next school trip!