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PSS gardening school receives donation

Tourism Pemberton says school is great way to teach farming techniques

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Partial proceeds from Tourism Pemberton's Slow Food Cycle have been donated to a gardening program at the community's high school.

James Moch, who manages the Pemberton Secondary School Garden Program, was awarded the cheque for $1,000 from Tourism Pemberton on Thursday, Dec. 7.

"We're really appreciative of (the donation). It's a big help to us this year," said Moch.

The school's gardening program teaches students farming techniques, including seeding, maintenance and harvesting. Students in culinary classes take part.

"We grow organically without chemicals, (and the students are) learning the principles of growing," explained Moch.

The $1,000 will go towards rebuilding a greenhouse, which needs new plastic windows, and organic fertilizer.

Some of the food grown in the greenhouse is sold to Grimm's Deli and the Pemberton Valley Supermarket.

Moch, who works in community development and at the school two days a week, said that taking part helps students.

"They get that sense of accomplishment that they did it — whether it's planting garlic or basil," he said. "I think that's really important for their social and behavioural development."

The gardening program, which has been around since 2014, is a huge success, said Carlee Cindric, Tourism Pemberton's marketing coordinator.

"It's very unique and a great way to get youth into farming on a small scale," she said.

"At the very least, students take away the know-how so they can start their own garden down the road."

The Slow Food Cycle brings around 3,000 people to the community every year, allowing cyclists to enjoy a leisurely bike ride to various farms.

Along the way, participants can purchase food and local crafts and speak with farmers.

Cindric said that she was impressed with the school's farming program and that the aim is to include it in next year's slow food cycle event.

"It's another opportunity to educate the thousands of visitors we get from the Lower Mainland," she said. "Hopefully they'll be able to sell some fresh produce!"

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