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Make It SOW is BACK!

Over the past year, the need for and the power of our SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) program has become so clear with critical opportunities for youth to connect with their peers and mentors in person severely limited for the past 14 plus months due to the ongoing pandemic.

This spring, we saw a much higher demand for the SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) program in Vancouver alone. 130 youth applied for 25 spots in our unique SOYL program for 2021. We need extra support to pay for an increased cost for supplies and workshops this summer and to grow the program to meet the overwhelming demand for next year.

The Problem

  • In British Columbia, 1 in 6 kids lives in households experiencing food insecurity.
  • Canadians spend more time indoors than ever before—approximately 90% of each day—and most of that time is spent sitting in front of a screen.
  • B.C. youth are reporting an increase in mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and PTSD. The COVID-19 pandemic has made these numbers even worse.
  • With so many opportunities and programs for young people cut or canceled this past year, we’ve become acutely aware of Fresh Roots’ unique position to fill the gap with much-needed time spent outside on the schoolyard farms we steward.

How You Can Help

 

  1. Sponsor an item (or two!) from our wishlist
  2. Register as an individual or a team to spread the word with your own sub-campaign
  3. Contribute a one-time donation with a custom amount
  4. Become a MONTHLY DONOR   and provide steady & predictable income to ensure we can consistently run our programming in addition to being able to plan ahead and grow our existing offerings.
  5. Share with your friends and family, tagging us @freshrootsfarms and using the hashtag #makeitsow

Help us GROW!

WHAT WE DO

Together, we:

  • Create and steward Schoolyard Farms
  • Facilitate outdoor experiential learning with teachers and students
  • Mentor youth through field trips and classes on the schoolyard farms, after school clubs and summer programming,
  • Host work experience opportunities for high school-aged youth and young adults
  • Connect community to growing food through our volunteer opportunities
  • Share food with the community —through food-access programs and to our neighbours and community through farmers markets and our CSA veggie box program
  • Provide support for school gardens and associated programming through summer support and teacher professional development
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2020 Impact Report

From Alexa, our Executive Director

There’s an eagle nest at the farm site that Fresh Roots stewards with Delta Farm Roots—a farming mini-school program located on the unceded and traditional territory of the Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations. Perched high above in its treetop nest, I wonder what the eagle observes of us. What does it see that we can’t—in how we go about working on the land, and how we navigate working with each other? 2020 was a year that forced new ways of being, but also encouraged new points of view.

At Fresh Roots, this has meant examining what it means for our work to be regenerative. Working from a regenerative approach means to be constantly re-assessing and mindfully evolving. We already know our work is more than just growing food—it’s engaging with and building our community. With that in mind, it’s important for us to learn and listen, to become better allies, and to be stronger and louder advocates for anti-racism and justice. As an organization, our goal is to develop those values and ways of being in our team and in the youth with whom we engage. We are all training to be our own observant eagles, looking out for ourselves and each other. We’re committed to noticing, addressing, and evolving systems that were created with colonial, racist and oppressive mindsets. 

At Fresh Roots, we’ve always known the richest learnings for kids and youth (self-confidence, self-awareness, sense of belonging) have come through the medium of growing, preparing and sharing food. Our path to becoming a regenerative organization reinforces the “roots” we have been nourishing. Every moment out on the schoolyard farms is precious. We are so excited for this growing season and invite you to join us!

Click on the image below to view the report!

 

 

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Science Odyssey: Join the Adventure! (May 1 – 16, 2021)

You are invited to join Fresh Roots as we take part in Science Odyssey, a ten-day celebration of discovery and innovation that engages and inspires Canadians of all ages with activities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics!

Sky, Sun, Seasons & Shadows

  • Date: May 11, 2021
  • Time: 3:30 to 4:30 PM (PST)
  • Location: Online via Zoom
  • Description: How can we use schoolyard farms as a space for garden-based learning to promote science education? Susan Gerofsky – an associate professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a background in mathematics and experiential education will walk us through a workshop filmed on one of the Fresh Roots Schoolyard Farms located at David Thompson Secondary School in Vancouver, BC. Targeted at elementary and high school educators, this online event will be recorded and presented over Zoom and hosted by Fresh Roots youth empowerment and experiential learning specialists with plenty of time for questions throughout!
  • Link to Register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sky-sun-seasons-shadows-tickets-152781001087

Spotlight on Scientists!

  • Date: May 1-16, 2021
  • Location: Fresh Roots Website
  • Description: To celebrate this year’s Science Odyssey, Canada’s biggest science and technology festival, we are highlighting amazing scientists from across the country! Young adult staff members at Fresh Roots interviewed inspiring individuals contributing to science, to learn more about their personal and professional journey, career, and what advice they have for youth. These scientists surprise and delight us with their unique topics and backgrounds, and the unexpected ways their work connects back to healthy food systems and a healthy environment.
  • Link to View: Spotlight on Scientists!

About Science Odyssey

Led by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Science Odyssey brings together hundreds of fun and engaging activities across the country from Saturday, May 1 to Sunday, May 16, 2021. Events range from science in the streets, visits to labs, science fairs, talks and conferences, school field trips, encounters with scientists and engineers, special exhibits at museums and science centres, scientific events at community organizations, online activities, and much more. 

Consult the full list of Science Odyssey activities.

Social media links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ScienceOdyssey/

Twitter: @Sci_Od

Instagram: @Sci_Od

Hashtag: #OdySci

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Announcing DELTA Farm Roots CSA Veggie Box brought to you by Fresh Roots

We are excited to share that we will be offering a 12 – week CSA Veggie Box in DELTA this summer! Our new Delta Field Lead, Jack (back from his role as last year’s Market Lead), is spreading compost and starting & planting seeds getting the Farm Roots schoolyard farm ready to share delicious ultra-locally grown produce with folks in the Delta area.

Cost
Each week, you’ll receive an average of $22.50 worth of veggies. (12 weeks x $22.5/week = $270)

Pickup Hours
2 pm-6:00 pm (passive pick up until 6:30 pm) every Wednesday from June 17th -September 2nd

Location
Farm Roots Mini School, Delta, BC 

SIGN UP!

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Announcing! EARTH DAY SEEDING CHANGE 2021 – APRIL 1ST – 22nd, 2021

This April we’re excited to partner with local organizations Kiwassa Neighbourhood House and local artist Amanda Suutari to launch the social media campaign #EarthDaySeedingChange2021!  

Starting April 1st, when you post your inspired actions to protect the planet you’ll be entered into our Earth Day draw to win locally- produced, planet-friendly prizes, including fine art prints, printed journals, along with other gifts donated by local businesses.    

Our goal is to ignite our sense of collective power to make a difference during these times of isolation.  #EarthdaySeedingChange2021 is about inspiring each other with all the creative ways we can care for the Earth.  Actions are like planting seeds – they contain their own life force, and can take root and grow in places we might least expect. 

How to participate: 

  • Take an inspired action between April 1st and Earth Day, April 22nd (see examples of actions below).  
  • Post a photo and caption of yourself taking the action on either our Facebook page or Instagram/Twitter with the hashtag #earthdayseedingchange2021 to enter a draw*.  
  • You’ll be able to check out the photo gallery of posts between April 1st and Earth Day by visiting this page:  
  • Randomly-selected winners will be announced on Earth Day (April 22nd).  
  • Prizes will include colourful, sustainably-printed art prints, journals, and postcards donated by local artist Amanda Suutari (printed by Hemlock Printers, one of the most progressive and sustainable print providers in North America), as well as random green-leaning goodies from local businesses (TBA).  
  • You get to feel awesome about taking action, feel inspired watching the gallery on this page fill up with images, and get some new ideas about how you can live a more Earth-friendly existence!   

What kind of actions?  Some examples:

  • Picking up plastic from a beach or forest
  • Planting pollinator wildflowers on your lawn or roadside (West Coast Seeds has some great pollinator mixes)
  • Collecting coffee grounds from your local cafe to add to your compost
  • Going plastic-free for a day (or longer!) 
  • Making a phone call or writing a letter to a local MP about an environmental concern such as old-growth logging
  • Patching or altering an old garment to extend it’s life
  • Making a donation to a local indigenous, environmental, or local food organization 
  • Download this list of actions for more ideas 

 

Prizes:  

Fine Art Prints:  One of a selection of fine art prints, journals or hemp postcards by Amanda Suutari featuring these images:

Breathe

Frog at Night

Eye Pods

Spring Medicine

Pollinator

+ other earth-friendly gifts by local organizations (names TBA).

*for winners outside the Lower Mainland, shipping costs apply.  

 
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Taking Science Outside Supported by NSERC!

Do you remember the first seed that you planted? The way that it sat in the palm of your hand until you tucked it in the soil? How about feeling like a proud plant parent when finally, its little green head groggily peaked up through the ground?

As scientists, we live for those little moments. In those moments the words in our textbooks germinate and come to life. No longer just a thought but a shared experience. Little moments like these breathe life into our scientific curiosity – to branch out from the first seed of knowledge that was first planted in us to reach beyond ourselves.

We at Fresh Roots want to recognize the generous contributions of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). It is through supporters like these that we are able to facilitate these little moments for teachers and students, where science learning leaps out of the pages and into nature, through our field trips, workshops, and SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership)! We aim to empower youth as citizen farmers and scientists by growing, cooking and managing schoolyard farms, to excite youth about agricultural and environmental sciences, to assist teachers in inspiring science learning through place-based learning.

Please share your memories of the first you remember being a part of something growing. We’d love to hear from you!

We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Nous remercions le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRSNG) de son soutien.

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A Big (really big!) Fresh Roots Announcement

A Big (really big!) Fresh Roots Announcement

It’s been ten years, that I’ve been here, helping Fresh Roots to grow
It’s hard work and seeds, meeting educational needs: 
A Good Food For All combo
We created a space with shovels and rakes, 
Where youth could build out their skills
Grow food for themselves, as well as their pals, 
Learning what’s possible with their strong wills.
And now it’s my turn, after all that I’ve learned, 
To start on a new adventure
Plotting and scheming, how more kids can be eating, 
Has been such an absolute pleasure
I’ll ride into the sunset, set off on a new quest, 
As Fresh Roots celebrates where it is now
Good Food For All, growing and cooking spring through fall, 
Huzzah! For all of this WOW!
      -Marc Schutzbank, Fresh Roots Founder

At the heart of our organization is the idea that youth can. They can develop and run farms; they can and should have access to Good Food; they can make their lives, and the lives of their communities better simply for being a part of it. For over a decade, Fresh Roots – with the support, encouragement and participation of our strong community, has been planting the seeds of Good Food for All.

Today we want to share with you the news that founder, Executive Director and Poet-in Chief, Marc Schutzbank has decided to pursue new adventures beyond Fresh Roots.

Marc has been an invaluable part of the Fresh Roots story – making Fresh Roots into the leader in the school food movement in Canada that it is today. Marc’s contributions to Fresh Roots are immeasurable. His legacy will forever be captured by the incredible milestones of the last 10 years:

🥕 First Schoolyard Farms in Canada – to now over 10 acres on three schoolyards that Fresh Roots is helping steward
🥕 Started as a volunteer-run organization, now $1M with over 100 staff and youth SOYL Crew
🥕 From serving 3 families in one backyard to serving now over 6000 youth annually.

Please take a moment to enjoy Marc’s ‘See you Soon’ message

We are excited about where we have been, and we look forward to the future. It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Alexa Pitoulis as the Executive Director. No stranger to Fresh Roots, Alexa brought her young children (now teenagers) to the original schoolyard farm builds at Vancouver Technical Secondary and David Thompson Secondary and has recently served on the Fresh Roots’ Board. Alexa skillfully led the Fresh Roots team as the Interim Executive Director through pandemic challenges to an incredibly impactful year. We have no doubt her 20 years of leadership experience will nourish the soil for Fresh Roots to stretch and grow to new heights!

With gratitude,
Matt, Scott, Tracy, Heather, and Karn
Board of Directors, Fresh Roots

 

 

P.S. from Alexa
It is with sincere gratitude and sheer joy that I am stepping into the Executive Director role. A special thank you to Marc Schutzbank for all the support and knowledge sharing he has offered this past year. And to you – Thank YOU! One thing I have learned this past year is the incredible depth and heart of our community and what we can do together. If I have not yet had the pleasure of connecting with you, I look forward to a call, a walk, a farm visit, sharing a salad, or a conversation at the market – reach out anytime!  alexa@freshroots.ca or 778-764-0344 ext 101
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“See You Soon” A Message From Marc Schutzbank

“See You Soon” 

It was ten years ago that I had the chance to see one of Fresh Roots’ first plants grow. It was a towering Jerusalem Artichoke – small golden sunflowers on top, and a tasty potato-ish tuber on the bottom. Standing tall in a schoolyard in East Vancouver, it would regrow itself each year, making the 8-foot journey from soil to sky. It inspired me to stand a little taller and strive a little longer. I was just a young kid – and Fresh Roots was also young – trying to figure out how to make this world a little better and what my – and its – role could and should be. 

And so we grew together – with many of you! Together we celebrated the joy of fresh food and the lessons learned through growing, eating, and observing: patience, teamwork, forbearance, and so much more. As a board member, volunteer, field hand, poet-in-chief and Executive Director at Fresh Roots, I’ve realized that we have always been bringing more than sunshine yellow flowers and fruits to schools. We have been cultivating joy, building and animating creative learning spaces, and instilling the firm belief that youth themselves have the power and capacity to make their lives better.

After ten years, and one-third of my life, I’m ready to spread my wings and take on a new adventure. I’ll be leaving Fresh Roots this winter, saying goodbye to Fresh Roots, this first child with Ilana Labow. I think that Fresh Roots is ready to leave the nest and ready for its next adventure. I too am ready to spread my wings and serve my community in a new and different way. 

At the same time, Fresh Roots is already off to an exciting new part of its journey. Alexa Pitoulis, long-time supporter and former board member, will be the new Executive Director. It’s been a pleasure working with Alexa over the past few years and I know that she will continue to lead the Fresh Roots community with joy and inspiration.  

Thank you to each and every one of you who have been part of my personal journey and have been and are a part of Good Food For All.  It’s incredible what happens when even a few hands get together and plant something larger than themselves – there’s nothing we cannot do.  Here’s to the next ten years of Good Food For All.  

With a fistful of sunshine, 

Marc

PS – Please do not hesitate to be in touch. You can reach me at marc.schutzbank@gmail.com.

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CSA Veggie Box Sales Are Now OPEN!!

TODAY is the day! CSA Veggie Box sales are now OPEN! We would love to see you join us as a member for the 2021 growing (and eating!) season. Questions about how our CSA program works? We’ve created a handy FAQ to help answer some commonly asked questions.

This year, we are offering a 20-week full-season share which runs from June to October, AND a brand new Good Food Market Credit Program which provides flexibility for those folks who prefer market-style shopping for fresh, local vegetables when and where they like. Click the buttons below for more information and learn how you can support Fresh Roots’ children and youth programs while enjoying ultra-local, season produce grown using organic practices!