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Welcome to Fall!

Fall is here, she announced her name
And you can see her in this rain
This is time to harvest crops
and celebrate the bounty that drops.

Although the season on the farm is slowing down, that’s just the time that Fresh Roots is busy in the classroom and working with you to help prepare and grow. October is the time that we harvest the last of the bounty from the year. Beets, carrots, squash – the last of Summer’s sun is harvested in the fruits, stems, roots, leaves, and seeds of our plants on the farm and in the forest.  It’s also a time of mushroom growth – the mycelium that runs throughout our forests like a wood wide web, is pushing forth mushroom fruiting bodies to spread spores and grow.

It’s in this time that we take stock of what it means to have bounty. As farmer educators we try to emulate that in our work and our lives.  That happens in two key ways: First, we share. Whether that’s food from the farm or the infectious excitement about what can grow when youth are empowered.  This year, we’re sharing even more food through a program called LunchLAB, where youth at two schools learn how to grow, cook, and share lunch with 150 of their peers twice a week. (Check It Out). We’re also helping share the magic of the Earth Sprit Healing Forest and Medicine Garden at the Suwa’lkh School in Coquitlam.  Set on over seven acres of land, we’re working with youth to reindigenize that land – remove the invasive species, plant native plants and medicines. We as an organization are learning from both the plants and place. And we acknowledge and are learning what it means to engage as a settler organization supporting and working to grow indigenous food systems. If you’re interested in learning more, check out what’s happening at Suwa’lkh.

The second is that we recognize that bounty exists – not just on the farm, but with the youth we work with. Youth have a tremendous amount of knowledge – both about the world as it is, as well as ideas on how to help make it a better place. Watching the global UN climate strikes, listening to the passion in our youth voices, and seeing the power of youth engagement, we recognize that youth have a bounty of energy and solutions to help make change that is so needed. Whether that is globally when it comes to climate change or at home, when it comes to helping their families, creating thriving communities, or sharing healthy food.  Helping everyone recognize the bounty that they walk with helps everyone to see their ability to affect positive change in the world.

This October, as Thanksgiving beckons and we harvest the energy of the sun, I encourage you to explore where you have bounty in your life. Might you be able to help share that bounty with someone else? You might have a wealth of experience that someone you know could benefit from.  It might mean sharing a favourite recipe with a friend. It might mean stopping by the Press Fest with two jars this year, one to share with a friend!

However you end up sharing your bounty, may this season fill you up.

We look forward to celebrating with you,

Marc and the Fresh Roots Farm Team!

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East Van Press Fest

Pluck, Crush, Press, and Ingest!
It’s the 8th annual East Van Apple Press Fest!
We request of you to be our guests,
And make this fest a great success.

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.

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

Enjoy cider, local music, socializing, and the Champion Press Fest Off!

Where: Vancouver Technical Secondary School (at the farm near the tennis courts) at Slocan and Broadway. Here’s a map.

When: Sunday, October 26, 2016 from 11-3

Who: All are invited. Bring your family, bring your friends and BYOJ Bring your own jar to help take home the cider.

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