There is a green brigade at the école primaire Jardin-des-Saints-Anges, and they’re working hard for their school. The 30 students who make up La Brigade Verte, a volunteer after school program at the elementary, teamed up with Concordia University business students on Wednesday to brainstorm a business plan for selling micro greens in Lachine.
“I learned how much things we need to keep the clients happy,” said Emmarita, who is in grade four at the school. Her group focused on client evaluation. Other little gardeners made groups for marketing, accounting, human resources and production who worked on their ideas for the school’s produce business.
La Brigade Verte has been teaching students the value of environment for two years now, but this recent collaboration with Racine Carrée, Concordia University’s Adoptez Une École initiative, takes the project to a new level.
Come September, the school’s newly renovated basement will be equipped with a greenhouse for the students to grow herbs and sprouts. They will then sell the produce to the community, with the profits going back into the project.
“Before I didn’t care as much about the earth, but it’s important,” said fifth-grader Nathan. He has been in the brigade for two years now. In that time, the students have beautified the exterior of the school, planting grass and flowers, and have learned to compost.
“It’s super rewarding for the children. They love the sense of responsibility,” said Cristelle Groupil, one of four teachers at the school who run the brigade.
“It instills good values in the students, they clean up garbage more. It’s everyone’s responsibility to teach them to take care of the environment,” added Mylène Therrien, another teacher with the project.
Passing down knowledge
The students benefit from the business expertise of Concordia University graduate students and knowledge from organisations like the Groupe de recherche appliquée en macroécologie (GRAME). Students in Concordia’s Leisure Sciences program organized the activities and logistics of the event.
“Working around urban agriculture with kids, I think that’s where we should be focusing our efforts if we want to talk about sustainability,” said project coordinator, Mauricio Buschinelli.
Volunteers from the GRAME work shopped what the students could produce, discussing the ins and outs of sunflower seeds, flax and produce. The Concordia students will work through the business model for a final draft.
Impact! The co-operators youth program for sustainability leadership has put aside $4,000 for the school’s new business, $2,500 of which has been allotted for growing equipment.
Racine Carrée worked with École Martin Bélanger to start an indoor greenhouse last year, and will be helping them install an outdoor greenhouse in May. They are also working with another school in Hochelega Maissonneuve.