Common Ground: The Strawberry Project
BCAITC is excited to launch a new K-12 growing project with Indigenous roots! Common Ground: The Strawberry Project is an initiative that brings together youth from local First Nations Schools and other schools in British Columbia in an effort to better understand one another as well as to broaden understandings about local, native plant species. Our aim is that through a cultural exchange between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth on growing strawberries and topics relevant to sustainability, we will promote learning about agriculture and the importance of food, all while increasing engagement with Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Understanding.
Strawberries are grown in every province in Canada, and the wild (or natural strawberry), is a native plant species to BC. The strawberry plant is an excellent plant to study as it has all of the key features of a typical plant species. Additionally, strawberry plants have several unique features such as being the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside. Often referred to as the “heart berry” because of its shape, the strawberry plant has been an important food source and medicine in many Indigenous cultures in North America. Symbolically, First Peoples have considered this fruit to represent peace and forgiveness. Through learning about strawberries through a First People’s perspective it is expected that students will deepen their understanding of First People’s culture and traditions and strengthen their own personal sense of identity.
Each classroom participating in Common Ground: The Strawberry Project receives a free classroom kit including 20 Everbearing strawberry bare root plants, 10 wild strawberry plugs, 30 pots, funds for soil, and a teacher’s handbook. Additional guidance, training, and support is available to teachers through BCAITC’s program staff.
The lessons designed in this package are aligned with K-9 curriculum connections. Specifically topics in the subject areas of Science, Mathematics, English Language Arts, Physical & Health and Arts Educations are addressed.
Fostering Knowledge of Indigenous Agriculture
With providing all participating schools with wild strawberry plants, cultivated plants, and the learning resources to fulfil the project, the goals for the Common Ground: The Strawberry Project are as follows:
- Build positive stories and perceptions of youth in neighbouring communities.
- Foster an appreciation of cultures in each community through education and exchange.
- Develop students’ literacy skills and contribute to their development as informed global citizens
- Increase motivation for agricultural learning and the interconnectivity of our ecosystems.
- Encourage themes of friendship, respect, and diversity and sustainability through a common planning project
- Connect cultural, literacy, and relationship building skills to the BC curriculum.
- Promote community, leadership, sustainability, and connection to the local land.
BC K-12 classroom teachers are invited to fill out this online application form for a chance to be chosen as one of the classrooms to participate in the Common Ground: The Strawberry Project. Applications for the spring 2022 program are open September 8 to November 25, 2021. Teachers will be notified by November 30, 2021 if their classroom has been accepted into the program. Each classroom must apply separately. Space is limited.
Thank you to the Province of British Columbia for supporting the Common Ground: The Strawberry Project. Also, thank you to the dozens of teachers and Indigenous leaders who helped bring this idea to life.
Thank you to Chantelle Trainor-Matties of Frettchan Studios for the wonderful artwork created for this project.