post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – Sissi

by Sissi Han, SOYL Suwa’lkh Mentor

Hi, I am Sissi! Here is my blog post!

I chose four pictures from the album and they are my treasured memories.

I took my first picture on my way to Rochester Park. They were hydrangeas. The flowers next to a cluster of clusters, just like small pompons. I felt relaxed at that time. The flowers were blooming brightly, they were gorgeous.

The second picture is a cluster of lavender. The whole SOYL team went to visit colony farm that day and we saw a lot of native plants, fruits, veggies, flowers. Although the temperature was pretty high, I felt well worth seeing these lovely plants. I heard that lavender scents can produce the most positive, calming results.

The third picture is a container full of blueberries from the first week of SOYL market. We harvested a lot of plump, dark blue blueberries. I remembered there were bees flying around, and cobwebs between leaves and branches.

The fourth one is a photo of the curry from Community eats of out crew. The curry was tasty and it smelt so good. We had coconut milk, chickpeas, sweet peppers, and other ingredients that I didn’t really put in the curry I made from home. That was impressive.

This was really a memorable experience!

Bright smiles,

Sissi Han

post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – Natalia

by Natalia Samaniego, SOYL Suwa’lkh Mentor

I originally found out about SOYL thru a “my school” app notification. This is my second year here and it’s been a great experience full of lessons, fun, and friendships. I’ve learned about leadership, food systems, forest ecosystems, mental health, the list goes on. I’ve done many things outside of my comfort zone that I wouldn’t have done if not for this program, like gaining hands on experience as a cashier in the Thursday SOYL market. As a mentor, I’ve learned to deal with uncomfortable situations and deescalate conflict. I’m a more confident person than I was before.  I’m really happy I got to be part of this program.
Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.
post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – Carmen

by Carmen Starr, SOYL Suwa’lkh Mentor

Market time at SOYL has always been my favourite time during the program. I loved it last year when I was just a crew member and got to do it and I loved it just as much this year as a mentor too. I could honestly list various reasons why the market is my favourite. To start off, I love the preparation for it. Harvest days are some of the best days for me. I love getting to pick the veggies and going through our whole process of getting them market ready. On market days, being able to sleep in is so refreshing and relaxing. Having that extra bit of sleep always helps. Besides that, getting to interact with customers and getting hands on work experience is great. I like that I get that experience in SOYL because it really helps having it. SOYL has just been a great way to gain work experience and prepare me for when I apply to somewhere and get my first job.

SOYL has been such a great way to step out of my comfort zone and really start to open up more. It has given me so many opportunities to connect with different people in my age group and has helped me step up and become a better leader. The mentorship this year has been new for me but others and I have seen a large change in the way I was last year. I’m more open to sharing my voice in conversations. I’ve gained more confidence in myself. I have faced some of my biggest fears here and got through them better than I ever have. I’ve always struggled with public speaking but being in this program and getting used to talking so much has helped me improve on it. SOYL has really done so much for me and I am so grateful I got to be apart of such a wonderful program.

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.

post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – Cady

by Cady Tong, SOYL Suwa’lkh Mentor

Being in the SOYL program was very new to me. You spend of your time outside either working on the farm or forest and any workshops we had we could relate back to experiences we had just had.

We plant a variety of things on the farm, often consumable but also beneficial towards our environment such as flowers for our bees or plants for filtration. 

We do a lot of cooking, leaning more into the vegan/vegetarian side which teaches us the importance of the food we eat while introducing us to new diets, which tie nicely into our food systems workshops.

We often gather in the forest next to Suwa’lkh which has a creek where we’ve learned the importance of our salmon to us and the Coquitlam people and of how the water systems affect us. 

At SOYL we get to create a really nice community where everyone feels welcome and we discuss the importance of safe spaces. It is unlike what I’m used to in my day to day life where such a close community is rare to come across.

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.

post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – August

by August Sholcz, SOYL Suwa’lkh Mentor

I’m really glad I joined the SOYL program this year. Last year, the SOYL program was a lot of fun and so far, this year has been just as fun. This year is a little more challenging than last year but I love challenges.

I’ve learned to interact with everyone. I’m really enjoying being a mentor and helping out. I have my own little crew and I know each person individually. I get to help and answer questions if they ask. So far, I feel pretty confident in guiding my crew. There are a few who need some extra support, but it’s been pretty good. Since I’ve been in their situation before, I am able to better support them. I am able to ‘put my feet in their shoes’. We’ve learned quite a few different things. We’ve learned how to can vegetables, learned about Colony Farms, learned about the different kinds of soils, etc.

Like always, my highlight is the market. There is only one thing I dislike about markets, which is closing time. My favourite part is entering orders into the ordering machine and handling the money. Doing the market is extremely rewarding not just because of how much was sold, but also getting out of my comfort zone and talking with people. I love to organize the produce to make it look nice and appealing. For me, teaching customers about what we do and what the SOYL program stands for is a little difficult, but it’s great practice. I have definitely come a long way with interacting with others during the markets.

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.

post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – Fiona

by Fiona Sutherland, SOYL Vancouver Mentor

As a mentor, I have loved seeing the growth and change this wonderful program has brought to not only my crewmates, but me as well. Watching everyone come out of their shells, take interest in farming, help the community, and expand their social circles has been so inspirational! Getting to know our wonderful SOYL youth this summer has been quite exciting, especially from a mentor point of view. I feel as if I have a lot more appreciation for the change and growth, I have seen from day one to now! Seeing the growth in myself is also incredibly exciting. I feel as if I learn more and more every year and I am so grateful for the opportunities this program has provided me with. My confidence in my own leadership skills is continuously growing as I receive feedback from our wonderful facilitators and help build on my current abilities. 

SOYL provides such an inclusive and fun environment to learn in, and this summer has helped me develop and foster crucial life and leadership skills. For example, I now find it much easier to take charge and help lead bigger groups. I feel a lot less afraid to give others gentle reminders and to step fully into my leadership position! SOYL has given me the confidence to trust my own decisions, leadership related or otherwise. I truly appreciate how SOYL brings hundreds of youth opportunities that are few and far between in our education system – not only does the program help prepare us for the workforce, but it gives us valuable information about the outside world and how to stand out amongst our diverse and talented peers. SOYL teaches youth how to bring positive change to our society, no matter big or small.

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.

post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – Joaquin

by Joaquin Redo Rato, SOYL Vancouver Mentor

Several wonderful, fun hours of labor and toil have been spent on the farm here at SOYL! Today I will talk about what my crew, Crew C, and I have been up to these last few days. 

Here at the farm, we use organic practices meaning no pesticides are added to the farm. Unfortunately, we do have problems with pest which makes this an expensive endeavor. Invasive plant species also pose harm to us as they invade our fields and choke out our crops. That is why weeding them out of our soil is an important part of managing and growing crops.

My crew and I have been a leading front against the war on weeds. The youth here at SOYL work hard in the sun all morning to take out all the enemy plants up to their roots without complaint, only stopping for the occasional water break. Big or small, we get them – then we stuff them into a wheelbarrow which is dumped into the compost bin. We like to keep our farm nice and clean as it gives it a sense of organization, so we also try to pick off any stray leaves or grasses to make sure the ground is spotless. The rats have gotten to some of the ripe crops, so we are going to have to find a way to deal with them without the use of pesticides. Our main goal right now is to eradicate the problem of weeds by putting tarps and natural barriers to protect the farm crops from being choked, but we need to get rid of the existing weeds first to prevent spread.

That’s all for today’s report! Thanks for checking in.

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.

post

#SOYLyouth 2021 – Caty

by Caty Janze, SOYL Vancouver Mentor

Growth is a huge part of SOYL, both explicitly through workshops and more implicitly through activities like gardening, cooking, and art. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and the combination of the two creates an environment that allows youth chances to become comfortable in areas they wouldn’t otherwise. 

We do workshop most days at SOYL on food security and sustainability, mental and physical health, and leadership and social enterprise. Although I’ve learned from each workshop, the social enterprise ones are the most challenging. Food workshops invite us to reflect on our values and our world, health workshops on how our minds and bodies work, while leadership/social enterprise workshops focus on our skills and how to market ourselves. The latter is difficult because saying good things about yourself is infinitely harder than quietly believing them; lending yourself to others opens you up to being misunderstood, or worse, being understood and still seen as inadequate. Why it’s uncomfortable is also exactly why it’s necessary. Confidence and self-knowledge are often conflated with arrogance and self-involvement, and so being allowed to speak well of yourself without fear of criticism is important for building those skills. 

The other defining part of what makes SOYL what it is is the activities! We do work around the farm, and we cook for community eats. These activities get us to move our bodies, enjoy being outdoors, and build community. They also let us practice skills we talk about in workshops. After all, you can’t cook without being confident you won’t start a grease fire.

Overall, SOYL has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have grown more confident in my leadership skills over the course of this year’s program and watching the youth form friendships and develop skills has been fantastic. 

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.

post

Science Literacy Week: C is for Climate (September 20 – 26, 2021)

Hey Vancouver youth! Take action about climate change with this workshop from Fresh Roots with CERBC as a part of Science Literacy Week.

About Roots of Change

In recognition of Science Literacy week, Fresh Roots, in collaboration with Climate Education Reform BC, and Dave Robinson, a Timiskaming carver and educator, is hosting two community, youth-focussed workshops. Join an engaging, hands-on, 1.5 hour workshop exploring our relationship to climate change, regenerative agriculture, food systems through storytelling and connecting with the land through cedar carving. Open to youth in grades 8-12.

  • September 21st from 4:00pm-5:30pm at David Thompson Secondary (sign up here)
  • September 23rd from 4:00pm-5:30pm at Vancouver Technical Secondary (sign up here)

This year’s Science Literacy theme is climate. They are partnering with Environment and Climate Change Canada and organizations from across Canada to offer content that will inspire you! Check out more events on their website.

Follow @freshrootsfarms on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for information leading up to the event!

About CERBC

Climate Education Reform BC is a student-led movement advocating for climate change education in British Columbia. Our organization mobilizes students, parents, and teachers toward a common goal of climate justice literacy and empowerment, centring on the Reform to Transform campaign, which outlines 6 specific Needs for change directed at the Ministry of Education.

Website: https://www.climateeducationreformbc.ca/

Additional links: https://linktr.ee/CERBC

About Dave Robinson

David Robinson is an Algonquin artist from the Timiskaming First Nation. Robinsons ‘style can be understood by the way he considers time, space and ways in which the sculpture form is created. Although Robinsons’ contemporary sculptures bring to mind visionary sculptors Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and traditional First Nations carvers, Robinsons’ work is not fashioned directly by their works. However, Robinsons sculptures share a way of exemplifying the simple forms that reflect archetypal representations of their subject matter.

In juxtaposition to elements of sculptor Constantin Brancusis’ pieces, Robinsons’ work shares the aspect of direct carving in such a way that the carving out of the forms make known their concealed truths.  Brancusi said, “The artist should know how to dig out the being that is within matter” Brancusi’s work was fueled by myths, folklore and primitive cultures modernity and timelessness.  Brancusi meticulously polished pieces for to achieve a gleam that suggested infinite continuity into the surrounding space. Robinson shares in the close attention to his own technique of rigorous polishing the pieces but where Brancusis’ technique intends to integrate the surrounding space, Robinson further develops a departure from Brancusi as the space informs the piece but is not intended to permanently set in the space. 

In juxtaposition to elements of Henry Moores’ pieces, Robinsons’ work shares the aspect of understanding important structural principles that contribute to the balance and form of the piece. Henry Moore said, Bones are the inside structure that nature uses for both lightness and strength…so in bones you can find the principles which can be very important in sculpture. Robinson shares in the adherence to the inside structure, however Moore fashioned the sculpture from objects in nature such as for the bones of animals, for Robinson there is a strong emphasis on directly using the knots. Moores’ surface treatment often revealed the wood grain and Robinsons’ pieces reveal the wood grain in a unique way that reminds one of the way time is revealed in the language of nature.

In juxtaposition to elements of traditional First Nations pieces, Robinsons’ work shares and understanding of the relationship of nature all living beings and the need to acknowledged the land and the people who inhabit it. As traditional First Nations carving employed mythical figures and ceremony, Robinson also pays attention to their relationship. Robinson regards his pieces as contemporary sculptures that are imbued by his First Nations philosophies. 

Robinsons’ current public art sculptures located in Vancouver include John Oliver Secondary –Many Beings 2016, UBC Indigenous Garden – Thunder Child 2016, UBC Pondersossa Building –Dancing Flames 2017, Vancouver School Board – Medicine Bowls 2020, Lord Byng Secondary -Great Whale 2021, Kilala Lelum Health Center – Alter 2020, Bean Around the World – Bench 2020, East Vancouver Education Center – Emergence 2020, Medicine Wheel Puzzle Project 2020, UBC Longhouse – Bench 2020, UBC Farm – Benches 2020, Red Cedar Heartwood River – Lord Byng 2020, Medicine Snake 2020, Beaver 2020, Ecole Jules Quesnel Elementary – River Bed 2021, UBC Robert Lee Alumni Building – The Protector 2019

Check out these articles about Dave’s work:

https://www.cbabc.org/BarTalk/Articles/2020/December/Columns/Environmental-Sustainability-and-Customary-Indigen

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/students-create-sculpture-inspired-by-indigenous-stories-via-online-classes-1.5618546

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/western-red-cedar-indigenous-carver-david-robinson-1.5138319

About Science Literacy Week

Led by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Science Literacy Week showcases the many ways kids and families can explore and enjoy the diversity of Canadian science. From September 20 to 26, 2021, libraries, museums, science centres, schools and not-for-profits are coming together to celebrate this year’s theme, Climate. They are highlighting the books, movies, podcasts and virtual and in-person events that share exciting stories of the science, discoveries and ingenuity shaping our lives. Feed your curiosity and explore science from across the country and within your region. 

Consult the full list of Science Literacy Week activities.

Social media links:

Facebook: facebook.com/ScienceLiteracyWeek

Twitter: @scilitweek

Hashtag: #SciLit