causes

The Results of a Budding Partnership

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Wed, 05/12/2021 - 22:02

Under pleasant weather on May 10, 2021, Courtenay Elementary School, the Lake Trail Community Education Society (LTCES), the Healthy Families Program of the Comox Valley Family Services Association, and the Courtenay Elementary Community School Society (CECSS) cut the ribbon on a handmade community book sharing box and seed exchange built by a community volunteer.

The book sharing box and seed exchange symbolizes the partnership between all involved in kick-starting the seasonal garden activities at Courtenay Elementary School.

photo of group cutting a ribbon
(L-R) Elaine Codling, garden coordinator at Lake Trail Community Education Society; Catherine Manson, principal at Courtenay Elementary; Bob Edgar, volunteer who built it all; and Jane Hughes, Healthy Families program manager, cut the ribbon to welcome the new community book sharing box and seed exchange. 
 
photo of garden entrance
The book sharing box is located at the main gate of the school garden on McPhee Ave.
 
photo of book sharing box and seed exchange
The box has a drawer at the bottom where you can donate seeds or take what you need.
 

The journey to the book sharing box and seed exchange started at the beginning of the school year. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Courtenay Elementary's school garden was left unattended for a year. However, the CECSS worked with Courtenay Elementary and other stakeholders to try and revive it. Following a talk with members at LTCES’s AGM in November, LTCES offered the services of Lake Trail Community Garden coordinator, Elaine Codling, for garden support. They will also be using Courtenay Elementary’s garden for summer programming due to ongoing construction at the Lake Trail Community School site.

The rest is history. Under Elaine’s guidance, the garden boxes were topped up with fresh soil. Over Spring Break, teachers and some families did more weeding and added more garden boxes, and shoveled more soil.

The school’s compost bins were replaced, and by the time school started after the break, everything was ready for teachers and students to start planting.

The book sharing box and seed exchange is the handiwork of Bob Edgar, a volunteer in the Lake Trail garden. Over the years LTCES has accumulated an extensive collection of donated gardening books. When school construction meant that the community room had to be packed and stored Elaine realized there had to be a way of continuing to share these resources with the community. Bob built the box, but the ongoing construction at Lake Trail meant there was no place to put it. So, the decision was made to donate it to Courtenay Elementary.

The book sharing box and seed exchange is a tangible result of the cooperation between Courtenay Elementary School, the Lake Trail Community Education Society, the Healthy Families Program, and the Courtenay Elementary Community School Society to promote gardening, nutrition, and good food.

If you have used books on gardening or food, you can deposit them in the box. You can also donate any extra seeds you have to help spread gardening in the Comox Valley. And, if you need anything, help yourself. Give a little, take a little.

The staff and students couldn’t be happier to have Elaine and LTCES in the garden!

Watch this video to see the garden take shape and the new book sharing box.