- Stories of Students
Armen, our second-year Armenian-Canadian student, participated in this year’s Project Week as a leader for the greenhouse project. Coming from a background of sustainable farming, Armen strives to facilitate the greenhouse’s development alongside his co-years. Armen told us about his passion for sustainability and the role of the greenhouse in making the school’s community more eco-friendly.
Three years ago, when I was 15, I joined an urban sustainability agricultural project in my local area. Throughout the two years I became very involved, joined several other eco-development groups and a youth summit for climate change. Initially being a very shy person, projects like these have helped me gain more confidence in communication with group members, organize my time and effort effectively and lead people towards an achievement.
When I joined the greenhouse project last year, I faced many difficulties - from unregulated low temperature and the soil’s health to miscommunication between the group members. People were genuinely confused about what they have to do, there was no collective consensus on the greenhouse’s goals. We started with weekly CAS meetings and devoted a lot of time to planning. Assigned group leaders were supposed to make sure that information and directions are passed on effectively.
During this Project Week, activities in the greenhouse were divided into two main parts. The first one was the installation of the new aquaponics system. I got to work alongside a local expert on aquaponics to redesign and develop an improved aquaponics system. The second part was the construction of a compost shed. Wood was processed and then put together next to the greenhouse to create a safe space for organic compost.
There are quite a few signs that the greenhouse is slowly moving the school towards becoming a more sustainable institution. For example, the composting shed was the first step towards a closed nutrient cycle for our garden. Lettuce produced by the greenhouse was then served to students in our cafeteria. Additionally, we were able to sell our fresh products to our community in order to fundraise for Artsakh families. However, for now our aim is not to produce food for the school but to help foster a sustainable community mindset. The project serves best as a tool to raise awareness on the issues of sustainability and ways in which our community can be more eco-friendly.