Film Information

Produced by Growing Local Productions, Katharina Stieffenhofer.
Film Length: 57:38
Release Date: March 13, 2010

Eleanor Woitowicz, and Bonnie Monias, both teachers at Mel Johnson School, in Wabowden, Northern Manitoba are literally breaking new ground in education and are growing a healthier community in the process. Over the past 4 years the teachers have established 58 small vegetable gardens right in their students' backyards. This documentary film follows the teachers and their students for a season of seeding, planting, harvesting, preserving and ultimatley celebration of the fruits of their labour at the school’s annual community harvest display and feast.
“…And This Is My Garden” New Documentary Highlights Success of Award-Winning Sustainable School Gardening Project In Northern Manitoba
children stand beside garden with cameraman March 4, 2010 - For immediate release: Winnipeg, Manitoba –
“… And This is My Garden”,
a new documentary from Winnipeg filmmaker Katharina Stieffenhofer, explores an innovative school gardening program that is breaking new ground in education and literally growing a healthier community in the process. The documentary, produced in association with Buffalo Gal Pictures, premiers with a free screening at the Gas Station Theatre on March 13, at 7:30 PM.
The film, set in the small northern community of Wabowden, Manitoba, follows schoolteacher Eleanor Woitowicz as she spearheads an education-based sustainable food movement called the Mel Johnson School Gardening Project. The initiative, based on the Frontier School Division’s science curriculum “Veggie Adventures” was introduced into the Mel Johnson School in 2006. Woitowicz teaches students how to take care of their own backyard vegetable gardens and reap the rewards of growing their own organic foods. Students develop valuable skills in sustainable food production, healthy lifestyle choices and food preparation, while fostering a sense of responsibility, pride and increased self-esteem.
Eleanor portraitWoitowicz was awarded a Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Award for her educational efforts in 2009.
After attending a presentation from Woitowicz and fellow teacher Bonnie Monias at the University of Winnipeg’s Growing Local conference in February 2009, Stieffenhofer was so impressed with the gardening project she decided to spend the next year of her life producing the documentary. “I was so inspired by what they were accomplishing with the kids,” says Stieffenhofer. “Eleanor took such a leap of faith connecting her school with the outside community. I wanted to tell the world about the success of her program, to inspire others the way she inspired me.”
The success of the Mel Johnson School Gardening project has already caught the attention of many influential organizations including the David Suzuki Foundation, Manitoba Conservation, and even the United Nations, which highlighted it at a European Economic and Social Council sustainable development conference in 2009. Stieffenhofer hopes the film will help to spread the word about the success of the project and encourage school divisions throughout North America to include it as part of their core curriculum.
“This documentary is not just about one school’s gardening project,” says Stieffenhofer. “There are much larger issues at play here. It’s about breaking new ground in education, and it has the power to change the way we live.”
Children with Teachers and Producer Katharina Stieffenhofer