post

Salmon at Suwa’lkh!

There’s a steam running through the woods at our Suwa’lkh site that used to be the spawning ground for many salmon. But now, because of overfishing, invasive species and pollution, very few salmon spawn there.

However, the students at Suwa’lkh have been rehabilitating the forest (including the stream) AND reintroducing salmon to the stream!

Photo by Meggan Crawford

Last January, Meggan Crawford’s class got chum salmon eggs from the Hyde Creek Watershed Society and raised the salmon in their class as part of the Salmon in the Classroom program.

The students named the first salmon to hatch Beyoncé, and because there were 55 salmon to hatch, they were collectively called 55th Harmony.

The students fed and took care of the salmon, learning about the stages of salmon life, creating info to share with fellow students, and even making signs for the stream.

Photo by Vanessa Perrodou

Finally, in May, the students released the salmon into the stream and read pieces they’d written at a ceremony with Indigenous elders and members of the Kwikwetlem First Nation.

In the fall, everyone was excited to see that salmon returned to the stream to spawn!

This is a sign that the rehabilitation work we’ve all be doing together has been worthwhile and it’s also a good sign for the coming years. It’s also encouraging us to double the work we’re doing to support the youth in leading the way to reindigenize this forest.

In two years, the youth’s own salmon will also return to the Suwa’lkh stream to spawn their own babies!

In the meantime, we just got our new batch of salmon eggs for this year, and the leadership program students are starting to take care of them already! Here’s to another salmon-y year!

post

Thank you so much!!!

The numbers are in!

  • 1 month
  • 67 super generous people
  • $14,128 of support for kids in Fresh Roots programs this year!!!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who helped make this magic happen, from donating to sharing with your friends to cheering us on. We appreciate you so much!!!

post

Honestly, Here’s Why We Need Your Money

Hi friend!

Marc here—Executive Director and Poet-in-Chief of Fresh Roots!

First, I want to say thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far to help us get closer to our goal of raising $10,000 before December 31 to support the youth in next year’s programs. So far, 11 generous donors have contributed a total of $3137! 

You may have noticed that we rarely, if ever, ask you for money. So far, we’ve been extremely fortunate in that most of our funding has come from grants.

But here’s where I’ll be really honest: grant and government funding can be unstable.

For example, two schools recently contacted us to say that the provincial funding for their lunch programs had been totally cut. These are schools with vulnerable youth and refugee populations, where parents work really hard and yet still can’t afford lunches for their kids. Here’s an example of what some of those kids are now eating for lunch:

Yes, that’s a once-frozen chicken nugget on a plain wrap.

These kids are now the definition of HANGRY: they’re hungry, cranky and they can’t concentrate on learning.

That’s where Fresh Roots comes in, with an innovative new pilot project! We are going to work with the teachers and youth to cultivate small farms at the schools, and then youth will harvest that food, work with professional chefs from Growing Chefs to use that food (along with food from other local farms) to create amazing lunches, serve the lunches to any student at the schools who needs or wants a lunch, and then all eat and enjoy together!

BUT we cannot sustain amazing, important programs like this on grants alone.

We’ve reached a point where we can’t grow our programs and support more youth without support from kind individuals like you.

The best way you can help is by joining our Veggie Brigade, our team of monthly donors that helps support our vision of Good Food for All! It’s easy! It’s fun! You’ll be part of a cool team! Any and all contribution amounts are greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time in reading this email and for everything you’ve already done as part of our Fresh Roots family!

With a fistful of sunshine,

Marc

post

An Exciting Peek Behind the Scenes at Fresh Roots!

For the past few years, we’ve had a BIG PROBLEM. We’ve wanted to show you all of the awesome things that the youth have been digging into at our farms, but there’s no way we could jam EVERYONE onto the farms at once!

Well, NOW we are thrilled to show you something we’ve been working on since the summer: a short and sweet sneak peek into one of our amazing programs!

We hope that by the end of this heartwarming video, you’ll be inspired to give a little warmth back to the youth in the form of a donation to support 2019 programs and our vision of Good Food for All! We are trying to raise $10,000 before December 31 to support the youth in next year’s programs and ALL contributions are greatly appreciated.

So… without further ado, please watch this lovely video! (It’s only two minutes and totally worth it!)

Watched that video and loved it? Didn’t watch that video but already know you love Fresh Roots and want to donate? Thank you so much! Please go ahead and donate now!

post

My Time at Fresh Roots: A Guest Blog Post by Experiential Learning Volunteer Michèle

I came to Canada from Switzerland to improve my English and to learn some parts of Canadian culture. I thought it would be a great experience to link my personal goals with helping people or kids in some way, and this was the reason why the organisation Fresh Roots caught my eye. From the beginning, I was interested in their mission and wanted to support them to accomplish their vision.

My volunteer time at Fresh Roots started on the farm with a lot of field trips. My first field trip was a little disaster. My vocabulary wasn’t adapted to the topic “farm” and I also didn’t have the skills to do farm work.

As time went by, it got easier for me and I felt more comfortable educating the kids about the farm. Thanks to Kat, Fresh Roots’ Experiential Learning Manager, I learned a lot about growing plants and how to handle them in different seasons.

At the beginning of each field trip, we always took a tour around the farm to observe the plants that are growing this season. With all five senses, we discovered the farm together, all the vegetables and herbs.

I was often responsible for making salad with the kids. For creating salad, we had to harvest some vegetables like turnips, carrots or kale. Harvesting was always the most exciting part for the kids because they felt like real farmers in action. Before we could put everything in the salad, we had to wash and prepare it. Every child added something to finish the salad, which we ate at the end of the field trip. As you know, some kids love salad and some kids hate it. Our goal on the field trips was to invite them to take an adventure bite from our own created salad and perhaps this bite would change their opinion. After they harvested it and prepared it and washed it, they were often proud of themselves, and ate it and enjoyed it!

At Fresh Roots, I had an amazing and funny time all along the way. No day was ever the same. I also learned a lot, mostly about the farm and the farm work, but also about the culture, the education system, and speaking in and listening to English. Fresh Roots strengthened my opinion about food literacy—that it should be an obligatory topic in a primary school. On the grounds of my great experiences here with school children on a farm, I’ll create a little school farm at my school in Switzerland to help teach food literacy to my own class.

post

Farm to School Month? More like School to FARM month!

October is Farm to School month, you say?  October is School to FARM month for Fresh Roots!

This fall, nearly 600 students will come on a field trip to our Vancouver Schoolyard Farms. We know that not every student learns best inside a classroom, and our field trips give students of all ages a chance to get dirty, taste delicious food, participate in the life of the farm, and make lifelong memories. By connecting our programs with BC Curriculum Big Ideas, we support learning in the classroom as well as on our farm.

Read on to see examples of what learning on the farm looks like, and get a taste of a Fresh Roots Field Trip.

Games

Whether growing from a sleepy seed to a juicy fruit like these kindergartners, becoming water trying to squeeze through soil, or buzzing like a bee searching for nectar and pollen, active, imagination-driven games engage kids’ bodies and brains. Plus, we all learn better when we’re having fun!

Storytelling

An apple becomes the globe as we share the story of soil on earth. A picture book shows us how alike we are, even if we seem different at first. We write the story of rain and flowers, like this one. “The raindrop fell on a sad looking sunflower and cheered it up. Now this flower is the prettiest flower of all.”

Farm Work

Kids love the chance to participate in meaningful work, especially when big tools are involved! Farm work, like planting, weeding, mulching, or even just digging, also lets kids take appropriate risks, make choices, and work together as a team to accomplish a goal.

Making Salad

When kids participate in making healthy foods, they eat healthy foods, and when you pull the carrots from the ground yourself, they are all the sweeter. Wanna know our secret for getting kids to eat kale? It’s all in the sauce!

Reflection

When we take the time to think, write, and talk about our experiences on the farm, we help put learning into context, solidify our memories, and create bridges to other experiences.

There’s so much more that happens on a Fresh Roots field trip! Our Vancouver farms host school-year field trips weekdays in September, October, April, May and June. Won’t you join us?

post

6th Annual East Van Press Fest

Come one, come all to this FREE event whose only purpose is to bring people together to make apple cider. This is a BYOJ event, so please bring your own jar and cup for hot cider, so you can take some home.

Where: Vantech Secondary Schoolyard Market Garden (Map)

When: Sunday October 14, 12 – 4pm

RSVP: Facebook

We’ll help you learn about the full process of apple cider (that’s the same as apple juice, but unfiltered and no sugar added), and for you to help make your own apple cider.

Enjoy cider, local music, socializing, and did we mention cider!

The World’s Saddest Blog Post

With the changing of the seasons comes the changing of our staff, as most of our summer students head back to university. We’d like to take this opportunity to say TTFN (ta ta for now) to some of our Vancouver team, and read on for a special goodbye from one of our longtime Fresh Roots family members, Rosalind Sadowski, Youth Empowerment Manager.

The Experiential Learning Team is saying a fond farewell to three great summer staff. Jauna (aka “Gummybear”) has been a ray of sunshine on our Camp Fresh Roots staff since July. Heidi (aka “Tote”), has done an amazing job making sure we all have what we need, where we need it, since May. And Anna (aka “Worm”), has been with us since January, first as an EL intern helping run field trips, and then helping to plan and run our first-ever summer day camp! It has been such a joy to watch them grow as educators, and see the fun they’ve created for our campers and field trippers. We wish them the best of luck as they return to school and wherever else life takes them.

This summer, we welcomed two members of our original 2016 SOYL crew back as program facilitators! Nicole and Amanda returned to help lead the program, and brought a wealth of creativity, enthusiasm, dedication, and innovation to our group! They are moving on to continue their university studies this fall, and their positive energy and passion for the SOYL program will be sorely missed!

Rosalind Sadowski

And here is a little goodbye from Ros, our Youth Empowerment Manager:
“I am sad to say I will be moving on from my role with Fresh Roots as I pursue my teaching certification at UBC. It has been an absolute pleasure working with this community over the past years, and I thank you for your part in helping youth grow themselves through growing good food. I hope to connect in some other capacity in the future!”

And here’s our goodbye to Ros:
It’s with sadness, and excitement, that we bid farewell to Rosalind Sadowski, our Youth Empowerment Manager. Ros helped to grow the new iteration of the SOYL program, helping cultivate cohorts of youth out on the farm and in the kitchen. Ros, you will be missed, and we’re excited to see how you can help support more youth at schools.

As we say goodbye to these friends, we’re looking forward to making some new ones! Speaking of Youth Empowerment Managers… if you’d like to have just as much fun as Ros and also make a huge impact, you can apply to become our new Youth Empowerment Manager!