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President’s Choice Children’s Charity supports Indigenous schools

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President’s Choice Children’s Charity has launched its initiative, Power Full Kids – Future Growers. Through this program, one publicly funded Canadian school that primarily serves Indigenous youth between the ages of 12 and 19 will be awarded a purpose-built container farm to grow fresh produce and provide students with an alternative classroom. Eligible schools have until February 17, 2023, to submit their application for this program.

Power Full Kids – Future Growers uses technology to complement land-based food systems in communities where Indigenous food sovereignty is challenged. The farm will enable the school to incorporate the produce grown by students into daily meal programs while providing education about food and growing practices.

“In recent years, we have worked with Indigenous communities and students to understand how a program like this could address their unique food challenges, and we’ve seen it work in three communities so far,” said Lisa Battistelli, executive director, President’s Choice Children’s Charity. “It’s a tribute to the students at Dene High School in La Loche, Saskatchewan who first suggested a container farm as a solution to overcome food access challenges in the North. We’re excited to see how more schools will put these tools to work.”

This year’s recipient will join a Power Full Kids – Future Growers community that includes existing farm projects in La Loche, Sandy Bay, Sask. and Kelowna, B.C.

The container farm is an enclosed hydroponic system with a year-round, controlled environment that uses 90 per cent less water and 80 per cent less fertilizer than traditional growing. Educators and students germinate seeds based on traditional knowledge and foods, monitor plant health and development, harvest crops and keep the system clean and contaminant free. Many crops can grow from seed to harvest in approximately six weeks and a fully maximized farm can grow up to the equivalent of an acre of crops.

Over the course of the five-year project period, participating schools will also be provided with access to the President’s Choice Children’s Charity online education platform which includes lessons, activities, and engagement ideas to make the most of the container farm.

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