Vireo s mission is to reconnect humans to nature by making urban agriculture accessible to all. The company offers indoor hydroponic garden projects in school settings. Such projects create a stimulating and motivating environment in which students grow their own food and learn concrete lessons throughout the year. This is why Vireo accompanies school teams who wish to integrate urban agriculture in their daily life, with the goal of offering a memorable and inspiring experience for all participants.
Easy to use, indoor gardens can replace or complement outdoor gardens. Without soil and producing crops in summer and winter, the garden allows different environments to observe several complete growth cycles. You don't have to have a green thumb to do it! Students can do the manipulations independently and love to work in teams during maintenance. They marvel at seeing the plants grow and are more than proud to share their harvest with their families and the community!
The literature on the subject, as well as Vireo's direct experience with schools, has shown that the main obstacles to the implementation of a project in a school are the difficulties related to the organization and management of the project (reference). We also know that simply having a garden is not enough to get all the benefits (positive effects on attitudes towards food, improved school performance [reference], positive effect on well-being through biophilia [reference]). It should be used for educational and awareness purposes, allow for student involvement, and create a sense of community and belonging within the school (reference). This is why Vireo provides schools with the tools and support necessary to exploit the full potential of the project, to ensure its success and sustainability so that students can reap the maximum benefits.
"We want to help as many schools as possible reap the benefits of urban agriculture, with the goal of fostering the development of their students. Creating an app that makes it easier for participants to coordinate and manage the project maximizes learning and has a greater impact on youth and the community."Alexandre Chamberland, President and founder of Vireo
From there came the idea of using the power of technology to support the project. It was through the Edteq Association that Vireo came to know Affordance Studio. Affordance is a company that specializes in the creation of learning games and gamification solutions. A great synergy was immediately established between the two teams who share the same values and work methods based on collaborative development in agile mode.
The expertise of each team member has converged to create a unique digital tool that meets the needs of schools. The Affordance team has even integrated a vegetable garden in its Montreal office and the whole team grows peppers to make hot sauce!
"Working with Vireo on the digital vegetable garden experience is both rewarding and exciting. Seeing the positive impact this project has on its users is a real pleasure, especially in the school context. The app and the hydroponic vegetable garden are great tools for educating the eco-citizens of tomorrow. I can't wait to see how far this great collaboration between Affordance and Vireo will go."Florence Girard-Laperrière, UI/UX Designer at Affordance
"We work closely together. In development meetings, there is no separation between Vireo and Affordance employees, we are one team working on a common goal, which is to give students and teachers an exceptional experience through a motivating project!"Gabrielle Poirier, Director of Techno-educational Content at Vireo
In the fall of 2021, Affordance's expertise in digital solutions for schools has resulted in the launch of a digital platform that maximizes the impact of educational projects. This intuitive tool encourages student autonomy and facilitates project management for the entire school! Vireo is very proud of this collaboration which ensures the success of projects in schools and supports teachers by making their lives easier!
"The Vireo application allows my students to be autonomous, they are able to search for information by themselves and find answers to their questions. They develop their critical thinking skills and a scientific methodology. They are now real experts in hydroponics! The project is stimulating and motivating, both for me and for the students. For me, the fact that I have access to step-by-step instructions and all the documentation at my fingertips is very reassuring, I feel accompanied in the project!"Isabelle Charest, Grade 6 teacher at Samuel-de-Champlain School