Educational Farms To Grow Communities

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This last summer, the Fresh Roots team frequently travelled back and forth between East and South Vancouver, Coquitlam, and Delta for their weekly harvests, farmer’s markets, and programming using Modo, and we’re so glad we were able to support them!

Fresh Roots: Good Food For All

Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society is a non-profit organization that stewards educational schoolyard market farms in the Lower Mainland with four locations on the ancestral and unceded homelands of the sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), stó:lō (Sto:lo), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-waututh), qiqéyt (Qayqayt), & sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Coast Salish People.

Kids Farming

The vision of Good Food For All is achieved through youth learning the skills, capacity, and will to act as food citizens and land stewards, to grow and share healthy food for themselves, their families, and the planet! To make this vision a reality, Fres Roots cultivates educational farms and programs where students dig into meaningful connections with the land, food, and each other, inspiring communities to build food systems.


Modo & Fresh Roots: A shared Path Of Community & Sustainability


With the Fresh Roots teams in need to transport large quantities of freshly harvested vegetables, native plants, and educational resources required to run their diverse programs — summer camps, SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) program, and company Team Buildings — the transportation of all these goods is an additional barrier for staff who do not readily have access to a vehicle and face long commute times.

Women in a Modo


According to Fresh Roots’ Operations & Digital Engagement Specialist, Vivian Cheung: “Sending Vancouver staff members to the Delta Farm Roots would not have been possible without Modo. Especially with the lack of available public transportation in this area and rising gas prices. Modo was the perfect solution: flexible booking times, a wide selection of vehicles to book in multiple locations, and benefits such as gas and parking that work around the usual challenges of having multiple schoolyard farms.
As a multi-site small organization, we are grateful for Modo as an affordable and accessible option for our team.

In addition, it was essential for us at Fresh Roots to partner with an organization that shares our values of community and sustainability. At Fresh Roots, we are passionate about growing food but, more importantly, thriving communities. As a Modo member, we love being able to connect with others through Modo’s active online presence, 24/7 ready-to-help support team, and carsharing program driven by people who care. Just like us, Modo emphasizes respect and recognizes the harm that is caused to the environment and is committed to reducing the harm by the use of vehicles as a core part of their Purpose. Hence, in addition to our environmental education kids and youth programs and sustainable organic growing practices, we are excited to find more ways to be sustainable thanks to Modo.”

Make It Sow: Together We Can Make It Grow

We invite you to join the Make It Sow Fundraising Campaign and help them reach their goal of raising $75,000 to GROW, NURTURE, and DEEPEN the Fresh Roots’ kids & youth programs by Thanksgiving on October 10th – we need your help!


  • $10 –  Provides seeds to grow a row of carrots for youth to harvest and take to market
  • $25 –  Provides one day of paid work experience and programming for a SOYL youth
  • $50 –  Provides lumber and tools for creating projects on the farms
  • $100 – Provides a subsidy for one kid to attend Camp Fresh Roots
  • $250 – Allows us to invite a knowledge holder from the community to teach youth about topics ranging from native and medicinal plants to digital literacy and Afro-Indigenous farming
  • $1000 – Supports two SOYL youth for a week of learning, growing and leading on the schoolyard farms

Whether it is a one-time or monthly donation, everything helps! Together we can provide reliable, long-term support for kid and youth educational food programming on schoolyard farms in the Lower Mainland.


2022 Food Summit Reflections

By Jaimie Rosenwirth, Suwa’lkh Environmental Education Program Lead

Back in September, I had the opportunity to go to the Canadian Food Centres Canada’s (CFCC) Food Summit, the first one since the pandemic started. With the help of a bursary, I was in Toronto for four days and met members of the Knowledge Sharing Circle that I am a part of, as well as other people who are involved in Community Food Centres (CFCs) and Good Food Organizations (GFOs) across Canada. There were about 300 attendees in total who came together to connect, learn, and engage in ways to support food security in their communities.

The day before the Summit, I went on a tour of Black Creek Farms and met up with my circle members. As I was on my way to check-in in the morning, I ran into one of the circle members in the elevator. We quickly began talking and stayed with each other throughout the conference. The tour of Black Creek Farms lasted about an hour and a half. I took in lots of ideas from what they are doing, as well as just learning more about indigenous ways. There were so many questions being asked by everyone that we were unable to complete the tour, which was amazing to see – I would have loved to spend more time there. As a group, we helped harvest beans for their weekly veggie stand and veggie box pick up. Going on this trip meant I would be missing that week’s harvest day back home, so I was glad to be able to help harvest at least for a short 5 minutes (I may have had a snack of a bean or two as well). After the tour, we arrived back on the school bus and headed to Evergreen Brick Works to have lunch and meet as a circle. Lunch was delicious, and we ended up sitting with a few more members from the circle who were also on the tour of the farm.

Meeting as a circle was amazing. We did some ice breaker games, introduced ourselves to the land, did a forest meditation, and of course, just had time to chat with one another. One member I connected with is from Iqaluit and we were able to talk about the north and traditions. As someone who is Inuit, it was amazing to have the opportunity to talk with her and hope that I can continue to stay in touch with her as she also knows of my auntie from Rankin Inlet. I was also able to see how the qulliq (a traditional oil lamp) was lit. That was very special because my grandma would talk about it but does not have one to show to us. It was an honour to have elder Monica light it for us using the traditional materials.

During the two days of the Summit, my mind was so full of amazing words from so many speakers and elders. At Fresh Roots, I am usually the one to take photos of everything but during the event, I think I took less than ten photos. One memorable experience was going on a water walk with Dr. Tasha Beeds. I was very honoured to be able to join that ceremony. I also was able to sit in on quite a few sessions and learned so many things. I am bringing back ideas to share with the youth at Suwa’lkh and ideas that I want to see incorporated on the farm and in our programming. For example, one thing that I really want to try is to have soil samples and look at them through a microscope so that we can observe all the living organisms in there and so that the youth can see there is more to soil than they may think.

It seemed to be that as the time for me to leave and make my flight home drew near, I was in the process of making great connections with others. I truly wished I was able to stay longer to create more lasting connections and exchange more contact information. I hope that one day, I will have another opportunity to attend the Food Summit again, reconnecting with those who I have met this year and making new friends in the next one.



It’s time to wrap things up on the farm. We had our last market of the season on Saturday and final CSA pickup the week before. Even though our plants aren’t melting away like they usually do at this time of the year, they have stopped producing and are ready for their next stage of life and death in the compost. 

While Fresh Roots winterizes the farms, we are also looking for someone to replace me during my parental leave in 2023. This person will be starting early in the year and working all season, overlapping with my return at the end of the summer. I’m hoping to find a person who will want to continue working with Fresh Roots for many years to come after I’m back. So, in an effort to recruit someone awesome, I’ve decided to use this blog entry to give a little breakdown of my position during peak season, and make it easier for folks to imagine themselves here

Farm Manager: Season Overview

The FR core team spends the winter strategizing on how to make things smooth, fun, and true to our overall mission. This makes spring feel totally fresh and exciting. The first thing the farm manager does is review the crop plan, count the seeds, and place a seed order. Then, there’s organizing the spaces, figuring out what compost and amendments are needed, and spending more money (provided by early season CSA purchases)  on all the good stuff. Seeds for our long-season crops need to be started either in the ‘grow-op’ in our storage space at the office, or in the prop house in the courtyard of David Thompson. Direct seeding starts at the end of February, so a portion of the farm’s beds need to be prepped and amended in preparation.

Next is hiring the farm team. The team looks a little different every year depending on where we are farming, but for the Vancouver site, I hire the following positions: 1) Market Lead, 2) David Thompson Field Lead, 3) Van Tech Field Lead, and 4) SOYL Jr Market Assistant. There may also be volunteers,  interns and LFS students who need to be onboarded, too. 

By May, all these folks should have their schedules and start a 5-week training program to get familiar with their responsibilities. This means that by the middle of June and the start of the CSA pickup, the staff and volunteers know what’s up and can graduate to beginning their leadership phase. This marks the start of Peak Season when we all need to work together as an oiled machine to meet our goals. By the first week of July, our summer youth internship program starts up, and SOYL youth will be directed by the farm workers in farm and market tasks for 6 weeks. 

A Week in the Boots of a Farm Manager

Here’s what my week looked like in 2022’s peak season, keeping in mind that 2023 may look differently depending on which markets we sign-up for, how we structure our CSA, and who is helping us harvest:

Monday: Admin and Communications 

This work can either be done on the Fresh Roots computers in our office or from home on the farm manager’s personal computer. I usually work from home with my cat on my lap and a steamy mug of tea. 

  • Email, orders, payments, newsletters, blog
  • Data entry of harvest, sales & CSA records from the previous week
  • 15-minute visits to the sites to see what veggies are coming up and making lists of what needs to be done
  • This week’s harvest planning for CSA and Market. Record plans in the Harvest Plan and CSA Plan documents
  • Field work plans for the week plus delegation of seeding & transplanting plans and ensuring data entry has been done
  • Work plan emailed to all the farm team including links to Field Work, CSA & Harvest Plans
  • Communicating in slack with all the other departments in Fresh Roots about what kids can do on the farm, and where we might need help. This means making clear plans with facilitators and managers in: Experiential Learning (EL), Sustainable Opportunities for Youth leadership (SOYL), & our Administrators (ED, Ops, and Comms). 
  • Fresh Sheet for EL so they can plan their farm lunches for day camp (feeds 40 kids)
  • Expense reporting
  • Review & approve the farm team’s hours if it’s the end of a pay period

Tuesday – Harvest Day

  • 730am: meet at David Thompson to harvest tender veggies
  • 1130am: ICC cooler – drop off harvest and eat lunch
  • 1-3pm: Van tech harvest of fruiting veggies / hot crops
  • 3-330pm: drop off harvest at the ICC cooler

Wednesday – Market Day & CSA Pickup #1

  • 730am: harvest flowers & any remaining harvest needed for CSA or Market
  • 1130am: pick up our bread order and maybe mushroom order
  • Lunch!
  • 1-330pm: help set up the market (operates 3-7)  with the Market Lead and whoever is helping out that day; either another farm team member, SOYL Youth, or volunteers

Thursday – Harvest Day

  • 730am: David Thompson
  • 1130am: ICC Cooler
  • Lunch!
  • 1-3pm: Van Tech
  • 3-330pm: ICC cooler

Friday – Field Work, Remaining Harvest & CSA Delivery for Pickup #2

  • 730am: complete any necessary harvest for CSA Pickup / Saturday market. Otherwise field work! 230 CSA Delivery to Collingwood Neighbourhood House for their “Community Care Veggie Box” program
  • 330pm: finished!

Saturday – VFM Market 


Sunday – Everybody takes a day of rest!


Wrapping Up the Season

Once the farm team’s summer contracts are over – usually at the end of August – one of the workers will stay on through the fall to help wrap up the CSA & markets and to winterize the farm. In 2023, I’ll be back to help the acting FM wrap things up. Together, we’ll write the crop plan for 2024 and work on the end-of-season reporting. We’ll also staff any remaining markets together, likely adjusting our schedules to Tuesday to Saturday. 

There are many other pieces of work that aren’t explicitly outlined in my weekly schedule – like all the planning and training that happens, community outreach events, volunteer events, tours, and workshops I lead. These bits and bobs are usually crammed into Mondays or Fridays, or woven into harvest days. Volunteer and youth training is also delegated to the farm team members during their field work time. Overseeing the schedules of each farm team member can be a jigsaw puzzle, noting that each member has their own domain to manage and it’s up to the Farm Manager to make sure responsibilities are fulfilled and deadlines are being met so we can meet our CSA and Market commitments. It’s also up to the Farm manager to make sure that mentorship is happening across the organization – so that the farm team members are supported and empowered to teach youth the skills they’ve acquired in their first 5 weeks. 

Peak Season is incredibly dense but it’s a lot of fun. All of the folks working on the farm are youth – from the farm team to the 4-year old campers in the EL program. There is so much life and energy to play with in this job, and I hope whoever is looking for that kind of fun will apply!

– Farmer Camille

Do you have what it takes to be our Acting Good Farm Manager in 2023? Apply here: