Knowlton Academy Secret Garden project: A seed that keeps on growing

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

For a second year in a row, Knowlton Academy (K.A.) is doing its Make it Sow fundraiser in support of its garden project, an educational initiative for gardening, nutrition, and the environment. Every year, the garden gets bigger and new ideas continue to blossom to incorporate the program as a part of students’ learning. The Make it Sow fundraiser helps support the initiatives of the program and coordinator Jennifer Ruggins Muir is looking forward to an even bigger 2022.

“It’s my second year doing it. We did it for the first-time last year and it was very successful. It works well because we do apply for and receive grants that help keep our programs running, but there are certain ways that money needs to be spent with grants and that’s great because it funds some of our activities. This is money we can use in different ways like cooking lessons over the winter,” explained Ruggins Muir.

The fundraiser plays an important role in supporting activities that can be tied to the curriculum and with what teachers are doing with their students in class. “They’re doing things for Black History Month in February so I bought a bunch of things to show how when African slaves were brought over that they brought seeds and things with them,” said Ruggins Muir. “I put out various foodsfor them that appear so American, but that are actually here because seeds were brought back by slaves and they’re such a part of our culture now.”
The fundraising has helped students learn about food origins and greenhouse gases. Students made directional signs for the garden to demonstrate where certain foods come from and how far it has to travel to get to Quebec.

“The Grade 3 science class does capsules and workshops on soil composition, so last year the teacher asked if we could do something in the garden. I had eggs shells, coffee grounds and banana peels, worm casting, and bone meal, and I explained all of these things, how to use them to build a healthy soil and the different jobs they do; like produce nitrogen and why they want this in their soil mix,” mentioned Ruggins Muir.

Ruggins Muir is also hoping to update the greenhouse and to do more outings to local farms this Spring. She has already brought a couple of classes to visit Potagers des nues mains in Sutton, where they learned about harvesting, and harvested their own artichoke patch, and Patch Farm in Brome, where they spent the day learning about livestock. “When see how much work goes into this, the more they feel ownership over their garden. They work to make money to do this and it teaches them more respect for food, the garden, and the environment,” she emphasized.

With spring making its way around the corner, Ruggins Muir is preparing to open up the gardens and to get students involved as much as possible, including having them pick out their own seeds and organizing more bake sales after their successful pumpkin bake sale last year helped raise $770. “It’s big now so it’s lot of composting compared to five years ago to get it to start growing in the spring. We need more seeds and plants because it’s a lot bigger. It’s wonderful, but it’s a bigger cost as the program grows.”

The Make is Sow fundraiser helps fill in those gaps. “They are just fundraising company and it’s not only for schools, but I think different organizations too,” mentioned Ruggins Muir. “It’s a 100% Canadian-owned company and all seeds are GMO free. They are based in Ontario and are a great company to work with.”

The fundraiser will run from Feb. 7 to Feb. 25 and there will be two prizes of $100 awarded to the top selling student and the class with the highest participation.

To donate, visit and enter the passcode for K.A.:
At check out, there is a box to enter the student’s name you are purchasing through so the sales get credited to the student and class. All orders will be delivered to K.A. the week of March

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