SOYL empowers secondary students to build and steward natural spaces on school grounds for learning, community building, and growing Good Food for All! Youth earn money for their contribution and a delicious lunch grown and cooked by their peers!

For seven weeks of the summer, SOYL Crew Members grow food sustainably in schoolyard market gardens, run a market stand, cook and share healthy meals, develop and sell a value-add product, and contribute to building healthy and resilient community.

In addition to working in the fields, SOYL Crew Members participate in workshops about sustainable food systems and food justice, diversity, personal growth, personal finance, and leadership. Each week, SOYL youth spend one day in community service learning with a local food organization.

Why Join the SOYL Program?

  • Grow healthy fresh food!
  • Cook with chefs.
  • Earn money.
  • Learn about your community.
  • Meet new friends.
  • Spend the summer outdoors.
  • Grow personally and professionally.
  • Eat delicious food!

Program Details

The program runs for seven weeks, July 11-August 26. Each day goes from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Thursday. SOYL Crew Members earn money for their participation, and must meet shared community agreements and goals. Participants are expected to attend the entire duration of the program. Stipends will be based on attendance. Graduates of the SOYL Program can return as SOYL Crew Mentors, and will start one week earlier on July 4. Our final celebration will held on Friday, August 26. Occasionally students will stay later during the week, and on an occasional Friday to volunteer at market stands.

All secondary students in the Lower Mainland are welcome to apply. Applicants must be entering grades 8-12 in September 2016. Youth who attend Van Tech and David Thompson Secondary Schools, or live in surrounding areas, are encouraged to apply! Preference will be given to students of the Vancouver School Board.

SOYL is a Collaboration Between


Join us at the Schoolyard Market Garden

SOYL takes place at the Fresh Roots Schoolyard Market Gardens on the grounds of Vancouver Technical Secondary School and David Thompson Secondary School in Vancouver, BC. One day each week will be a Community Service Learning Day, and we will meet at the site of a local food organization. The schedule and location for these days will be shared in June. Students are required to find transportation to each farm at the beginning of the day.

What is the program like?

Most days involve gardening, games, workshops, and community building. Over the course of the summer, SOYL Crew Members also spend time organizing and running market stands, cooking and serving healthy foods to community members, preparing and leading a Food to Table workshop, and canning or dehydrating fresh produce to make and sell healthy snacks. Crew Members participate in weekly workshops to develop garden skills, financial skills, personal skills and team skills. One day each week, SOYL participates in Community Service Learning Days, working with a Good Food organization in our community to gain a deeper understanding of our food system and how we can make it more fair and healthy for everyone.

Check out the SOYL Blog to see more!

How do I earn money?

Youth receive money for participating in the program. This is called a stipend. Stipends will be based on attendance. Youth also earn community service hours or, for those entering grade 11, earn Work Experience credit. Speak to your school’s Work Experience teacher for more info.


Working on the Farms

Come ready to get dirty! We work in all kinds of weather, including rain. It is important to dress comfortably for the temperature. Close-toed shoes are mandatory.

All of our sites are accessible by public transit. Should you have any questions please be in touch.

Come back as a SOYL Crew Mentor

Youth who completed SOYL previously are eligible to apply to be SOYL Crew Mentor. Mentors participate in advanced training, serve as guides to first year SOYL youth, take on leadership roles in the garden, kitchen, and market, and organize Good Food projects to make healthy foods more accessible in our communities.

SOYL Crew Mentors participate for eight weeks (which includes training a week before the SOYL Crew Members begin), five days per week, July 4-August 26. The program runs from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

Application Deadline

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2016 season. Youth selected to be part of SOYL 2016 Program will be informed June 15.

Contact Information or 604-822-4842

SOYL is made possible by

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