Inaugural Innovation Grant supports groundbreaking project, providing local, fresh produce year round and the opportunity for students to learn and grow
BRAMPTON, ON, May 17, 2018 /CNW/ - Today, students from Dene High School in La Loche, Saskatchewan, started training to grow and harvest a variety of produce in a farm the size of a shipping container. Made possible by a new Innovation Grant from President's Choice® Children's Charity, the $220,000 state-of-the-art modular farm will soon arrive in La Loche. By autumn, the student-managed farm will be bursting with fresh, locally-grown produce for the school's lunch program and potentially the wider community, where at times food access can be an issue.
"In the wake of the tragic events at the school in 2016, we were asked to do our small part to help restore the health of the school kids and their community. Our PC Children's Charity began to fund the school lunch program, but we thought we could do more," says Sarah Davis, Chair, PC® Children's Charity and President, Loblaw Companies Limited. "This project is funded by our new Innovation Grant, which was developed to really expand our impact in communities, through unprecedented opportunities to make change."
PC® Children's Charity, established and funded by Loblaw Companies Limited, has committed $150 million over the next 10 years to tackle childhood hunger and deliver nutrition education. Stemming from the belief that well fed kids learn better and contribute more to a better Canada, this initiative is the first of the Charity's new Innovation Grants which support transformative projects to combat childhood hunger and poor nutrition.
Today, five Dene High School students and three staff are in Toronto to receive hands-on training in a modular farm, which looks like a large shipping container. The unit, developed by Modular Farms Co., contains a workspace for learning, planting and harvesting as well as four vertical walls of produce sustained by automated lighting, heating and watering systems. The unit is purpose-built for a northern environment. Its closed-loop system uses 95 percent less water than a typical farm and may produce up to 1,000 heads of lettuce or 6,000 plum tomatoes per week.
"The farm will help students develop a stronger relationship with food and serve as a valuable teaching aid on subjects like nutrition, business, math and biology to set them up for future success." says Greg Hatch, Principal, Dene High School. "When we asked our students how we could become better and move forward, they suggested a greenhouse. I don't think any of us imagined PC Children's Charity giving us a state-of-the-art modular farm."
"This is a huge opportunity for us," says Danisa Petit, Grade 12 student at Dene High School. "We're going to learn a lot by managing the farm and we can't wait to have more fresh, local produce for our school meal program."
In preparation for growing in September, the farm's exterior will serve as the canvas for art students who will be given the opportunity to personalize it.
About PC® Children's Charity
PC® Children's Charity believes nothing will create better conditions for success than nourishing our kids, which is why we've committed $150M over the next 10 years to tackle childhood hunger and deliver nutrition education to children across Canada. Well-fed kids will change our world for good, and we pledge to provide them with the nourishment to learn, to grow, and to succeed. For more information on PC® Children's Charity or to donate online, visit pc.ca/charity.
About Dene High School
Dene High School offers a quality education for over 350 students in La Loche, Saskatchewan. The school has a big gymnasium, science lab, home economics lab, commercial food preparation facility, industrial arts shops, library, computer lab, and many large, well-equipped classrooms. This is a school with a motivated staff who are always engaged in implementing innovative and creative programs that are found nowhere else in the country.
SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited
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Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, the nation’s largest retailer, and the majority unitholder of Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, banking, and wireless mobile products and services. With more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned...