VSS Go Green School Garden

In 2010 Element Eco-Deisgn was asked by the VSS Go Green Committee to develop an Outdoor Classroom, School Garden and Community Garden for the new Vernon Secondary School. The VSS Go Green Project’s primary objective was to design a sustainable outdoor classroom to facilitate and demonstrate the benefits of natural systems within a school curriculum while providing fresh, nutrient rich local food from a student run garden/greenhouse for use in the school cafeteria and cooking programs.

The site will also be open and available for community members to use for gardening, composting, program facilitation and social gatherings to create a more resilient community. This site has the opportunity to bring together people of all ages, cultures, demographics, experience levels and professions to create a productive, safe, educational space to demonstrate multiple aspects of sustainability.

The design consists of four main components:

A Passive Solar Greenhouse
A Large Scale Composting System
An Outdoor Classroom with Culturally Significant Plant Selections
And A School With Food Forest & Community Gardens

The overall design utilized Permaculture Principles and Ecological Design to create a space that is considerate to the relative location of elements, environmental impacts, energy uses, resource management, waste management and water harvesting.

The VSS: Go Green Project encompasses environmental, social and economic sustainability within a school curriculum. The elements of the Go Green Project will provide staff with a space to teach hands-on, practical applications of classroom material. Students will benefit from a kinetic learning environment and gain valuable life skills.

The Go Green Project is an excellent opportunity to showcase the Okanagan Valley’s agricultural and cultural heritage; while promoting a sustainable lifestyle. The Project will integrate community members with staff and students, effectively creating a multi-generational knowledge exchange that will foster a more resilient community.