Pauline Hansen (from left) shops for some plants with Aythan Taylor and PSO student Kaspen Hansen at the annual PSO Garden Sale. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Annual PSO plant sale a success despite lack of students

‘It’s not only the food it’s also good for your mental health’

Despite the absence of students and lingering COVID-19 fears, the Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School’s annual plant sale was practically cleaned out in a day by 100 Mile residents.

By 2 p.m. roughly 1,000 plants had been reduced to just over 100 after dozens of people came out keen to buy them. It was a sight that surprised and delighted the event’s organizer Claudia Morgenthaler the teacher of PSO’s agricultural program. Morgenthaler also serves as the school’s German teacher and emigrated to Canada 20 years ago and has been dunning the agriculture program for 10 years.

In the past the course has included animal husbandry and beekeeping, Morgenthaler said adding that students enjoy taking it for the hands-on nature of the course. This year unfortunately after they planted the seeds before Spring Break they had to switch to online instruction like the rest of the school.

“To be self-sufficient is a passion of mine so that’s why I was willing to run the program to show the kids how to grow your own stuff, where your food is coming from and how to cultivate your own garden even if it’s container gardening,” Morgenthaler said. “The fruits and veggies are so much more valuable because you grow it, know what’s in it and what’s on it.”

After her students finished planting it was Morgenthaler and the school’s education assistants who stepped up to care for the plants.

“Our school, in that regard, is so great because we are a good team the teachers, educational assistants, it’s awesome how everyone chips in whenever there’s something that needs to be done,” Morgenthaler said.

While their harvest ended up being smaller than previous years, she still wanted to host the event for the public as she knows many people look forward to it. The event typically makes around $10,000 which is then used to fund both the agriculture program and other programs in the school that are in need of money. As the event was scaled down she doesn’t expect to make that much but it still will end up helping the school.

This year has marked the first time where Morgenthaler was almost sold out of plants by the end of Saturday. Seeing so many people come out to buy plants, while properly social distancing, made her proud to see the hard work of all involved payoff and be recognized by the community.

“We hope this interest continues in the future and that people who started gardening this year will keep with it in the future because it’s worthwhile, it’s not only the food it’s also good for your mental health,” Morgenthaler said.

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Educational Assistant Joan Horichka waters some plants during the first day of the annual PSO Garden Sale. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

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