Fresh Roots to grow/sell produce on-site; donate part of harvest to local food security organizations
JAMES SMITH Jun. 28, 2021 4:44 p.m
The Delta School District has leased its dormant Farm Roots Mini School to a non-profit that will operate the farm and donate part of its harvest to local food security organizations.
In a press release issued Monday afternoon (June 28), the district announced it had leased the eight-acre Boundary Bay-area farm, located at 6570 1A Ave., to Fresh Roots, a Vancouver-based non-profit that cultivates engaging gardens and programs that encourage healthy eating, ecological stewardship and community celebration. The lease is set to run until Nov. 30, 2021.
“Fresh Roots is no stranger to our farm,” Paige Hansen, district vice-principle for academy and choice programs, said in a press release. “For several years we have worked in partnership, with the shared aim of stewarding schoolyard farms to provide meaningful learning opportunities for youth. For example, over the past three years, Fresh Roots has helped manage the farm during the summer by hosting a summer youth leadership program — Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership (SOYL). We are delighted to be able to lease our farm to them.”
The district has been unable to operate its Farm Roots Mini School for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the release, the district is using this pause in operations to “assess the best format to incorporate agricultural programming into the curriculum, with a focus on grades 7-9, to help keep elementary students’ interest in agriculture alive.”
Fresh Roots will continue to grow vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers at the farm, which will be available to the community through the on-site farm stand and at local markets. As well, Fresh Roots will be making weekly donations during harvest months to local food security organizations.
“We are so excited and grateful to have this opportunity to manage the farm for the next few months,” Fresh Roots executive director Alexa Pitoulis said in a press release. “The local community has always been so welcoming. If anyone is interested to know more about our SOYL program or has other questions, I encourage them to call me at 778-764-0DIG (0344), ext. 101.”
Meantime, the district says it will continue to use the farm as an outdoor learning classroom for students and possibly for hosting community events once pandemic restrictions allow.