Sowing seeds of hands-on learning in Hamilton

Niagara College

Healthy living initiatives are also taking root in the North Hamilton community, thanks to a partnership with Niagara College.

The College’s Greenhouse Technician program played a key role in North Hamilton Community Health Centre’s new Community Greenhouse, which opened its doors this fall.

While the new Community Greenhouse extends the growing season for NHCHC gardeners, improves access to fresh organic produce, and creates opportunities for horticultural and education about organic growing; students, in turn, gained opportunities to learn about greenhouse setup and management firsthand while making a valuable contribution to the community.

The 600-square-foot greenhouse, which had been donated to the NHCHC, was a blank slate before about 20 second-year students began working on the project last fall as part of their Greenhouse Crops course.

“Our students were able to get out of the classroom and design a real life greenhouse system to benefit a progressive community centre,” said Bill MacDonald, professor from the College’s School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies and coordinator of the Greenhouse Technician program.

The program’s partnership with the NHCHC continues to blossom, as two new classes – about 40 second-year students— continuing the work this year.

Brent Esau, Pathways to Education director for the NHCHC, said the Centre is very grateful for its partnership with NC’s Greenhouse Technician program.

“In addition to growing produce, we are seeing the greenhouse as an opportunity to engage community members in organic food production as well as therapeutic programs through horticulture,” said Esau. “The partnership with NC has been instrumental in setting up the greenhouse in ways that will serve long-term purposes for our community members.”

Read more about NC’s Greenhouse Technician Program here.