Students at Spruce View School were delighted to learn, recently, that the school will receive a $20,000 grant from the Chinook’s Edge School Board.

Spruce View students plan to use the funds to purchase hydroponics equipment so they can grow vegetable crops year-round. This is the latest project to receive a Flourishing Stories and Innovation Grant.

“We’re pleased to see the efforts of the students rewarded,” said Claire Funk, Principal of Spruce View School. “They worked hard at developing the submission to the board. They have a great idea and we believe it will grow now that we have the Board’s seed money in place.”

The idea started with teacher Rick Dunnigan, who teaches Career and Technology Studies at the school, as well as math and science.

Dunnigan approached administration and asked to offer an enterprise and innovation class, so that students would have the opportunity to develop a project and learn the lessons from the process, including how to apply for a grant. Then, with students enrolled, the brainstorming began.

“We were looking for something that would meet the conditions of the school, and keep in mind the criteria of the grant too,” said Dunnigan, “and what we landed on was hydroponics.”

“I hope that our school becomes known for agricultural education,” said student Austin Noirot, a Grade 10 student. “We are starting with hydroponics but I am hoping we can go much bigger to include chickens, and crop growing for instance.” Noirot said he thinks the focus is a good fit in an agricultural area, and it's the agricultural focus that made him excited about the class and the project.

Grade 10 student Jackson Walsh had a different reason for being a part of the project. “I am interested in business and marketing, and I’m thinking about studying that in post-secondary. I thought this would be a good way to test the waters.”

Dunnigan said the hydroponics equipment has been ordered and will arrive in the fall. The school selected a double-sided mobile cart with the ability to produce 360 plants at a time and provide enough light even in Canadian winters.

The school plans to produce lettuce, cucumbers, and possibly green peppers and tomatoes. The class will provide plants to the school’s foods classes, and plans to sell plants to the community as well.

**With information provided by Chinook's Edge School Division