Written by Marnie Klassen

A Surrey high school may feel worlds away from the quiet green space found at A Rocha’s Brooksdale Centre, but beautiful things happened when the two worlds collided earlier this spring. The school in question is the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Center, a high school that provides a more flexible learning environment for students who have trouble in a traditional classroom setting. And the students who visited A Rocha are part of the school’s Active Citizenship Cohort, a special program that encourages initiative and a strong work ethic through community service projects and job skill development. The group participated in two seperate four-day programs learning about agriculture, conservation, food and community.

Some students had never been on a farm before, and many were surprised by how much work goes into growing food. During their time on the farm, the students helped the farm team seed and plant several varieties of tomatoes, build a poly tunnel (a tunnel of fabric used to cover plants that acts as a greenhouse), sort beans, and harvest broccoli flowers, to name a few. Several from the group really enjoyed being able to chat with friends while doing physical work, and were excited that the farm team was teaching them to do things from scratch. A student had been planting tomatoes and remarked, “It’s like giving life to the earth!”

And of course, what’s a field trip without food? As the students ate lunch together, one girl noted that she didn’t know healthy food could taste so good! Another student said, “Eating together like a family is so wonderful. It reminds me of home.” Some of the girls also noticed that they felt energized after eating a freshly grown and cooked meal.

Surrey high school students farming

The time spent with the group was very meaningful. After working on the farm, learning about A Rocha, and eating together, some members shared things they had learned. One girl said she had gained respect for vegetables, and several others agreed. She went on to say, “A Rocha is about commitment, community and care. We are sharing the care here. Expect to work hard.”


It was clear through this time that while everyone had a different experience and learned a variety of new things, they were a unified group. As a final class assignment and a way to reflect on their time at A Rocha, the class wrote a collective poem.


A Rocha is a place where…

organic relationships are seeded, cultivated and nurtured;

hearts are restored and a sense of community is created;

and the land is tilled while hearts are filled with the altruistic act of giving back.

A Rocha is a place where…

work gets done through the rain and the sun;

mucky boots and dirty fingernails go hand-in-hand;

and pulling out slimy kale stumps and cleaning the chicken coop are just part of the day.

A Rocha is a place where…

one can find a tremendous amount of good and giving people;

meals are created together, eaten together and celebrated together;

joyous laughter and copious amounts of deep discussions are welcomed and enjoyed.

At A Rocha…

I felt at home.

I learned how to be a better team member and friend.

I was a part of a beautiful combination of creation care, commitment and community.


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