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A Shout Out to Our Partners on Giving (Back) Tuesday

This Giving Tuesday we’re taking a moment to pause and highlight some of the many community partners working with us toward a more food secure future and Good Food For ALL. Fresh Roots is part of an interconnected and supportive community of small local businesses, non-profits, and organizations that is re-imagining food education and community. We are incredibly grateful for the diverse perspectives and energy everyone brings to the table (and farms). Through deepening our relationships with our community and with the land we work with, we are learning and innovating together!

We invite you to check out our partners listed below and learn more about their products, fundraisers, and the work they do.

  • Flavours of Hope – They are currently fundraising for Dream Cuisines 2022. Consider donating to help them reach their $4000 goal! 
  • South Vancouver Neighbourhood House – Help SVNH spread joy and healthy food for 320 families in South Vancouver by donating items to their wishlist and money to buy fresh meat, eggs and more.
  • Ono Vancouver – A meal for you supports meals for your community. Check out the Ono Vancouver and website to get to know Chef TJ and for more information about the amazing work they do and where to pick up their delicious products. 
  • Il Centro Italian Community Centre – Check out their 2021 Christmas Market coming up on December 12th, 11 am-7 pm. Visit their website for a busy calendar of events at the always bustling Il Centro. 
  • Delta Farm Roots – Farm Roots Mini School is an innovative, one-of-a-kind school that directly links students to the multifaceted agricultural industry.
  • CERBC – Climate Education Reform BC is leading the Reform to Transform campaign which is advocating for climate change education in British Columbia’s K-12 educational system.
  • Growing Chefs –  Too many kids don’t know where food comes from or have access to healthy, whole food. They’re on a mission to change that. Both Growing Chefs! and Fresh Roots work together to bring LunchLAB to life where student chefs prepare and serve a delicious lunch to their peers and teachers with the guidance of a knowledgeable chef-in-residence.
  • Legends Haul – At Legends Haul, their mission is to change the food ecosystem one haul at a time. They offer consciously sourced ingredients from hyper-local farmers, producers, restaurants, and business owners from across BC. 
  • Organic Ocean – Created to foster a sustainable, vibrant, healthy seafood industry, in which fishermen would be fairly rewarded for their investment, effort, and personal risk.
  • Poplar Grove Winery – Is one of the original five wineries on the Naramata Bench. Tony and Barb Holler purchased the winery in 2007 with the long-term vision and commitment to building one of the most respected wine-growing estates in Canada. The family philosophy: great wine brings us together.
  • Coho Commissary  Exists to nurture dreams, supercharge small businesses, and innovate the food and beverage industry with the goal of creating a positive and long-lasting impact on their friends, neighbours, and the place they call home. 
  • City Reach – Serves thousands of vulnerable individuals, children and families across Greater Vancouver. Specializing in meeting tangible needs through food security initiatives, CityReach provides a network of support through a variety of programs and community events. 
  • Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House – is a community-based organization serving the Kensington/Cedar Cottage neighbourhood.  It was built from the vision and dedication of volunteers who gave their time and support to make the organization and this community a better place to live.
  • Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreationis the only elected body of its kind in Canada. Formed in 1888 as a committee to manage the new Stanley Park, its history is as old as the city’s itself. It has exclusive possession, jurisdiction, and control over more than 230 public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more.
  • Coquitlam School District – SD43 is home to Suwa’lkh School an alternative educational program with an Indigenous focus.  It is open to students in grades nine to twelve. Suwa’lkh means ‘New Beginnings’ in the Hul’qumi’num language. Respect for Mother Earth, our environment, and one another is part of the Indigenous teachings at Suwa’lkh. A focus on Indigenous teachings helps to ground our students in the culture of our land while helping them gain skills to help their emotional well-being and sense of self.
  • Vancouver School Board and the SACY Program – Substance Use Health Promotion initiative engages Vancouver parents, teachers, students, administrators and the greater community to strengthen school-based alcohol and drug prevention and early-intervention programs and policies.

#GivingTuesdayCA #TogetherWeStand #TogetherWeGive #TogetherWeHelp #TogetherWeHeal #TogetherWeThank

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Community Spotlight – Made by Malcolm

By Jaimie Rosenwirth, Suwa’lkh Lead and Malcolm’s Support Worker

Malcolm’s Story

Malcolm is a valued Fresh Roots community member with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and the garden at Suwa’lkh School in Kwikwetlem (Coquitlam) is a place that he loves to spend time. He has been working out in the garden with Fresh Roots for 5 or 6 years now. He was a student at Suwa’lkh who helped create the garden and orchard and helped develop the 7 acre food forest next to the school. During his last year of school he worked outside 3 hours a week, seeding, weeding and uppotting. After Malcolm graduated in 2020 he wanted to continue working in the garden. He started volunteering twice a week and kept coming to the garden throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided him with a safe, welcoming place to go every week. This is a place where he is able to build lasting connections with the community.

Malcolm loves to do the uppotting and seed start tasks. Weeding is also a task he loves because there isn’t too much to think about. With weeding everything must go! Malcolm really enjoyed the seed saving of lupine seeds this summer. Harvesting, leaving them to dry in a paper bag, separating seeds, packaging and labelling. He asked if we would be doing this again next year. Malcolm also really enjoys harvesting the purple peacock beans. These are easy to spot and we just have to pull them all off. The simple repetitive tasks are great for Malcolm. He does enjoy learning new farm tasks when we are able. The more things he can do means he has more choices of tasks to choose from when he is here.

Sonia, Malcolm’s Mom, has said “We are so blessed that he is so welcome there! I tell everyone what an amazing program it is all the time. He is so lucky to have Fresh Roots”.

Support the ‘Made by Malcolm’ Fundraiser!

In addition to dedicating his time to help out on the Suwa’lkh schoolyard farm, Malcolm fundraises by selling Made by Malcolm handmade cards. In January, he raised $362.34 in support of Fresh Roots experiential food literacy education programs. Way to go, Malcom and Jaimie!

Malcolm is back with another Made by Malcom Fresh Roots fundraiser, selling sets of holiday cards for $5! Each set comes with four cards (star, tree, snowflake and stocking). Show your support by purchasing a set of cards through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Made-by-Malcom-655182104946615/!

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End-Of-Season Harvest Reflections

By Kat Vriesema-Magnuson, Experiential Learning Manager

Halloween. Dia de Muertos. Samhain. All Saints and All Souls Days. This time of year the harvest makes way for the long cold nights of winter in the Northern hemisphere, and it’s no surprise that many cultures take time to reflect on death, decay, mortality, and those who’ve gone before. All that lives must die, to make way for what will come after. On the farm this month we’ve seen the massive heads of sunflowers go from cheery reminders of summer, to drooping, black reminders that summer must end. We’ve torn up the plants that were lovingly tended all season, and returned their corpses to the compost bin. In spring, we’ll plant again, and we’ll use compost to enrich our soils. This year’s beans and tomatillos and zucchini won’t be forgotten, though, and neither will the young people we’ve worked with this year. The lessons we learned from this growing and learning season will help next year be even better.

I’ve slowly been learning more about the ancestral traditions of my family, and especially my Finnish grandmother. In Finland, Kekri marks the end of the summer’s work and the transition to winter. It was traditionally observed whenever a household’s summer work was done. Eventually, it became standardized to November 1 in western Finland, where my family came from. Like many other celebrations at this time of year, it was a celebration of the end of the harvest, and a remembrance of the dead. The sauna was cleaned and heated, a feast was prepared, and the spirits of ancestors were invited to enjoy the sauna and eat the feast. Once the ancestors had their fill, it was time for the family to do the same. During Kekri, no one was to go hungry, and food and drink would be offered to anyone who came to the door, even children dressed in scary outfits, who would threaten to break the household’s oven if they weren’t given treats. That sure sounds familiar!

With the end of October, our “summer work” is basically done here on the Experiential Learning Team. Field trips are wrapped up, camp is long done, and we’ve said goodbye to nearly all of our seasonal staff. Now is the time for reflecting on what’s happened, looking for what should be pruned away and what should be allowed to flourish in the new year. It’s time to breathe and rest and dream of spring. And it’s time to celebrate our many accomplishments from the past year, and see what all we’ve “harvested”. So here’s a quick run down of what we’ve done this year:

  • We engaged learners from pre-K through 12 in over 11,000(!) hours of learning on the farms and in the community!
  • We more than doubled the number of campers in our summer camps, from 125 to 286, and we were able to offer five free camp spaces at our Suwa’lkh camps.
  • We hosted over 60 classes from local elementary and secondary schools on our farms for field trips, and brought the farm to over 30 classes and day camp groups for workshops!
  • We employed 8 young adults in seasonal positions, where they learned as they taught, and grew in their skills and knowledge alongside our program participants!

I hope all of your harvests have been equally fruitful this year!

In gratitude for abundance and the legacy of those who’ve gone before,

Kat

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Farmer’s Log, Seed Date November 1, 2021

Of course, the day that I need to sit inside and hammer out a blog, the sun decides to shine and the sky is bright blue. At least I don’t have to squeeze into my mud-soaked raingear today, which is the norm this time of year. 

Reading back on last month’s blog, the goals I set for the farm seemed realistic and intuitive. Alas, this is not how things usually go. Piper, Galen and I went out to Delta to lend hands in planting their garlic and clearing out the high tunnel. We had the intention to harvest the seaweed that was washed up on the beach out there but a storm blew it all away. We also had intentions to piggyback on Delta’s compost pile but ran out of time tying ristra peppers from rafters so couldn’t shovel it into the truck. This all translates into later planting and mulching dates, and more days in transit between locations. 

Galen and I did get our garlic planted at Van Tech: 4 X 45 ft beds (not ten, like I imagined) to mature into big heads of Russian Red Garlic. Amendments we used were compost and river sand, sul-po-mag, and blood meal. We mulched with 6 inches of straw and will add seaweed when it washes ashore in Delta again and we have time to harvest it. We messed around with the spacing a little bit but ended up with 3 rows per bed, intermittently planted (laid out in a posts-and-windows pattern) 6-8 inches apart. It’s important to make sure each clove has 3-4 inches in every direction so it has space to expand its roots and get juicy. That means we planted about 1,000 cloves in these four beds. We also installed 3 X 25-ft beds at about 4-inch spacing for green garlic, which is like a delicious, garlic-flavoured leek harvested in the spring. For this purpose, we used the smallest cloves and some bulbils (garlic flower-produced seed). I’m excited to see how they turn out — I’m expecting thin, single-cloved, tender stalks that we will bunch for our CSA in 2022.

Although our markets and CSA are done for the season, we still have brassicas and chicory producing tasty cold-sweetened shoots. Japanese Sweet Potatoes were dug, and about 200 pounds of sunchokes are looking for homes. We are using these veggies to supply special events like the Indigenous Family Gathering at VanTech and to fill the food boxes for the South Van Neighbourhood House food hub. I’m also hustling a bit to get whatever bits and pieces I can into East Van Farm-to-table restaurants like Ugly Dumpling and Dachi Vancouver. If you’re a restaurant nearby and want to purchase veggies from us, get in touch with me!

Fresh Roots’ Field Lead, Piper, has now finished their contract for the season. I am so grateful for the positive vibes and enthusiasm they contributed this season. What a gem of a human that I’m sad to see go. I’m sure they will continue to charm whatever workplace or schoolroom they enter. This also means it’s up to me, sometimes Galen, and hopefully volunteers to finish up winterizing the farm. There are a lot of plants to pull and plastic to cover our fields, so any help from any supporters or *ahem* readers would be cherished. I promise to give you kale!

Now that I’ve enjoyed my hot lunch and written about garlic (was that really all I did in October? Plant Garlic? Time flies), it’s back off to the fields to tear down some trellising and coil up drip lines from our irrigation system. I’m hoping I’ll get a good dose of Vit D with these sun rays. Stay cozy, friends. 

– Farmer Camille