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2018 Annual Report

We’re so excited to share with you all of the amazing things that happened in 2018! (Hot tip: click the little square in the far right corner to view it full screen and zoom in.)

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who supported the children and youth in Fresh Roots programs in 2018 and helped grow Good Food for All!

Come Plant a Food Forest With US!

We have a farm that is slowly filling with food, and we have a forest that is teaching us how nature “gardens”, now it is time to connect the two and build a food forest at the Suwa’lkh School!

What is a food forest? It is a type of garden that mimics a natural forest growth pattern and its biodiversity to ensure better yields, fewer inputs, and simple management! This system will help our youth learn about ecosystems, biodiversity, and native plants while creating a food asset looking forward 20 – 50 – 100 years ahead!!!

We would love your help in creating this next piece of our food asset, and feed our community for generations to come!

If you are interested, click this link to sign up!

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Feeding “Hangry ” Kids

Don Davies is introducing legislation entitled the “School Food Program for Children Act,” requiring the Minister of Health, in consultation with provincial governments and other relevant stakeholders, to develop a school food program to ensure that all children in Canada have access to healthy food.

Fresh Roots participants and staff were invited to attend this press conference and got to speak on the importance of a national school food program. Watch now:

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Fresh Roots: Rethinking Hunger and Food Access

Michael Newman of Global TV explores how Fresh Roots and other local charities are engaging in ensuring that all people have access to healthy food.

With rising food prices and continuous economic pressures, the problem of hunger is one that has greatly affected the Metro Vancouver area. Community reporter Michael Newman takes a look at some community organizations on the front lines of hunger and the diverse innovative solutions they are deploying.

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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!

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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

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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!

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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.