FRESH ROOTS AT RISK OF CANCELLING FUNDRAISER: ‘SCHOOLYARD HARVEST LONGTABLE DINNER’, HAPPENING JULY 6TH
Purchase your tickets now for the ‘Schoolyard Harvest Longtable Dinner’ benefitting Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society’s youth programs
Vancouver B.C., June 21, 2023—After a 3-year hiatus, Fresh Roots Urban Farm Societyis excited to be bringing back their most anticipated and critical fundraiser of the year: Schoolyard Harvest Longtable Dinner on Thursday, July 6, from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. However, this previously quick-to-sell-out summertime event is already at risk of being cancelled due to slow ticket sales. Fresh Roots relies heavily on this event to fund Fresh Roots’ youth programswhich empower young people to connect with both their community and the food on their plate. Celebrating nature’s bounty on the verdant farm grounds of David Thompson Secondary School, Schoolyard Harvest Longtable Dinner is an elegant, chef-prepared multi-course, seated dinner made with locally sourced ingredients from the charity’s schoolyard farms and community partners, and paired with an open bar of wine, beer, and other beverages. Ticketsare $250 for adults, and include food, drink, live music and farm tours!
“This year’s event is a special celebration of the 10th anniversary of Fresh Roots’ first schoolyard farm,” explains Alexa Pitoulis, Fresh Roots Executive Director. “It will be an unforgettable culinary evening on the oasis of our urban farm—all in support of farm-based learning and leadership for kids and youth across Metro Vancouver.”
The evening will begin with cocktail hour at 5:30pm. Guests will choose between craft alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages accompanied by a grazing table composed of locally produced ingredients and the best of the season’s local harvest. During cocktail hour, guests are encouraged to mingle and wander through the lush schoolyard farm to experience the work of Fresh Roots firsthand at the peak of golden hour. Knowledgeable staff and former youth participants will be eager to offer farm tours and tell guests about their personal experiences with Fresh Roots.
At 6:30pm diners will take their seats to indulge in a locally-focused multi-course meal prepared by Governor General’s Award-winning Chef Robert Clark, and Chef Julian Bond (Organic Ocean Seafood), Chef TJ Conwi (Ono Vancouver), acclaimed Pastry Chef Fumiko Moreton (Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre), and Chef Derrick Sibayan (Holts Café), plus beverages from Ward’s Cider, Persephone Brewing Company, and Edna’s Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Company.
All funds raised at the Schoolyard Farm Longtable Dinner benefit Fresh Roots’ youth programs. Over the past decade, Fresh Roots has embarked on an inspiring and transformative journey, empowering young people to become food citizens and land stewards. Participants learn how to grow and sell food through planting, harvesting, and working at farmer’s markets. They develop valuable farming and entrepreneurial experience while also nurturing their self-confidence and ability to work effectively as a team.
Partners of Fresh Roots 2023 Schoolyard Harvest Longtable Dinner include: Organic Ocean, Windsor Meats, Persephone Brewing Company, 33 Acres Brewing Co., Edna’s Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Company, Wards Cider, Wize Iced Tea, Ono Vancouver, KPU Richmond Farm, UBC Farm, Cropthorne Farm, Terra Breads, Earnest Ice Cream, TMRW Foods, Spread ‘Em Kitchen Co., Legends Haul, KMComms, plus additional generous partners to be announced in the days to come.
Schoolyard Harvest Longtable Dinner tickets are on sale now via Eventbrite.
Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society
GROWING FOOD GROWING COMMUNITY! Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society envisions a world where everyone has access to healthy food, land, and community. This non-profit organization works to cultivate engaging gardens and programs that catalyze healthy eating, ecological stewardship, and community celebration. Fresh Roots helps schools and school districts across Metro Vancouver grow community through growing food. Working with a variety of partners and clients, it utilizes school gardens to provide opportunities for inquiry-based and cross-curricular learning, volunteering, leadership development, and job skills training that animate school communities across the Lower Mainland.
We were excited to be back participating in Science Odyssey this year, Canada’s biggest celebration of STEAM. Led by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Science Odyssey brought together hundreds of fun and engaging activities across the country from May 7 to 22, 2022.
by Jaimie Rosenwirth, Suwa’lkh Environmental Education Program Lead
This year, we held the workshops in the Suwa’lkh Healing Forest. We had 5 classes participate in the Exploring and Understanding Native Plants workshops over 3 days, May 16, 18 and 19th.
The students worked their way through 3 stations, removal of invasive plants/planting natives, a forest walk, and ecosystem web/plant in a jar.
Station 1: Removal process. students remove Japanese knotweed, blackberries and English Ivy. These are all invasive plants that we have been removing from the forest on an ongoing basis. After they had removed the invasive plants that had the chance to plant native plants. They helped plant salal, sitka spruce, lingonberry, common camas, evergreen huckleberry, thimbleberry, snowberry, red flowering currant and stonecrop. They removed lots of Himalayan blackberries, Japanese knotweed and English Ivy.
Station 2: The forest walk. The students went on a walk through the forest and were identifying which plants we have. They were able to identify salal, salmonberry, thimbleberry, Indian plum, red flowering currant, cottonwood and skunk cabbage.
Station 3: Ecosystem web/plant in a jar. During the ecosystem web each participant is given a new identity. They temporarily become something that is a part of our forest. We connect to each other using string. Students would have to say how they are connected to each other; blue heron is connected to salmon because they eat salmon. We continued making these connections until the web got complicated and more difficult to connect to someone they have not yet connected to. Plant in a jar activity takes your sight away. The leaf of a plant is placed in a jar with a sock over it so you are unable to see inside. The next step is to draw what you are able to feel.
During the break we made tea for the students to try. We made different kinds with what we have available to us, mint as well as mint with sage and salmonberry leaves.
Thank you to the Suwa’lkh School, iHub Secondary School, Centennial Secondary School, Maillard Middle School, and Rochester Elementary School for joining us for this year’s Science Odyssey at Suwa’lkh!
Native plants information page – coming soon!
Stay tuned for the launch of our native plants resource page on our website.
Thank you everyone who attended this year’s Fresh Roots Science Literacy Week event! Roots of Change was a youth workshop in collaboration with CERBC and Algonquin educator and carver, Dave Robinson – head over to this link for the full event information and guest bios. For those who couldn’t make it out, check out our summary of what happened.
The workshop took place at two of Fresh Roots Vancouver schoolyard farm sites – September 21 at David Thompson Secondary and September 23 at Vancouver Technical Secondary. Despite the weather forecasted for the week was going to the usual Vancouver rain, the unexpected sun served as a picture perfect backdrop against the schoolyard farms. Students came from near and far for the event. For those that attended the host school of David Thompson and Van Tech, it meant finding ways to pass the time between the school bell and the start of the event at 4:00 PM. For others, they quickly travelled across the city to make it to the workshop’s location, including youth from Lord Byng Secondary, Windermere Secondary, and even Waverley Elementary. Regardless of where each person was coming from, everyone was welcomed with the warm hug of nettle tea, crafted from Fresh Roots’ recently completed tea garden.
We had the honour and privilege to have elder and knowledge keeper, Shane Pointe, who also was the workshop guest Dave Robinson’s uncle, to lead us in a land acknowledgement to start the event. At Fresh Roots, we acknowledge that we work on this land that is not ours; our schoolyard farms are on the ancestral and unceded homelands of the sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), stó:lō (Sto:lo), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), qiqéyt (Qayqayt), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Coast Salish peoples. We learned and we listened as Shane passed on the stories of the land to us passed on to him from his elders – the changes to the land and how it was used, what was lost over time, and hope for the future. He ended by sharing two simple words of wisdom to the youth participants – have fun.
Cedar Carving with Dave Robinson
And ‘have fun’ we did. Student participants cycled through three activities, engaging in this year’s Science Literacy Weeks’s theme – C is for Climate. For the first activity, Dave Robinson shared with the youth one of his carving projects – a puzzle forged from a thousand-year-old yellow cedar. Prompted by his professor in the Indigenous Teacher Education Program at UBC, he designed this mathematical piece after the medicine wheel, with the cardinal directions carefully etched out to act as a compass for the new adventure we were about to take.
We learned that we were not the first to travellers to encounter this challenge. From classes of elementary students to stumping a team of engineers, the rules were simple. From memory, we were to take turns either placing a new block or removing one that was out of place, which was definitely more simple than it proved to be. Eventually, we completed the impossible but of course, not without many hints from Dave Robinson. To the brave souls that are reading this and happen cross paths with this labyrinth, here is what we learned about the puzzle (without spoiling the fun) and really, about being good stewards of our land:
We need to work together. To bring change, we need to communicate, share, and listen to each other’s perspectives to move forward in the right direction. Everyone has a part to play, whether you are putting a piece down or correcting another, you have influence.
To put the solution together, we need to take the time to understand the marks of the land that existed long before you. They hold the leading lines for us to see the whole picture.
Finally, some pieces are easier to place than others. Start with what’s easy and move your way up. Pay attention to your perspective – it may seem right until you flip it over. You could be looking at the wrong side!
Regenerative Agriculture with Fresh Roots
In the second activity, Fresh Roots guided the youth to explore regenerative agriculture. In short, regenerative practices, in comparison to industrial practices, view through the lens of the ecosystem lens, where we move from a consumer to a producer perspective to bring lasting positive change. Regenerative agriculture aims to work together with existing biotic and abiotic features of the land, rather than only taking from the land, which will in turn reduce our harmful contributions and help us work towards improvements in climate change.
Our journey started by taking a walk around the schoolyard farm. Youth were immersed in their senses and curiosity as they made notes on colours, shapes, textures, and taste of the plants found in the garden beds. For some youth, they harvested and tried rhubarb, kale, even flowers for the first time! For others, it was their first time on an urban farm let alone a schoolyard farm. Youth made notes on diversity that exists in a regenerative system, from plants to insects that can be found thriving in the ecosystem.
We then took the time to visualize the differences between regenerative agriculture to industrial agriculture. Here are some things we came up with together:
Regenerative farms support native species, including insects like bees and other pollinators by allowing plants to flower
Regenerative farms find ways to improve the soil through compositing and decomposers
Regenerative farms reduce the amount of pollutants added to system by limiting large tractors and industrial equipment that produce heavy pollution
What other differences do you see?
Letter Writing with CERBC
The final activity involved the student leaders of CERBC empowering their peers to use their voice to bring about change to climate change. Realizing the limited and lack of climate education in schools, they turned to the power of storytelling to start the conversation. Youth were asked to reflect on questions:
What is your experience with climate change? How have you been affected? What observations do you notice?
How have you been thinking about climate change lately? What have you heard recently?
What would a better world look like to you?
As more stories and letters get written, the hope is that more people, including politicians and policy makers, will take move towards making climate change education more accessible in schools and bring change in the way we view and approach climate change as a society.
After a summer of heatwaves and wildfires, we at Fresh Roots and 200 other organizations representing 1 million+ British Columbians have come together to call on Premier Horgan and the BC government to get serious about the climate emergency. Check out the links below to learn more:
Introducing the Fresh Roots Silent Auction! This year for the Backyard Harvest Dinner with Friends, we are hosting a virtual silent auction with the event to fundraise for our youth program. All proceeds of this auction directly benefit SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities Youth Leadership), which engages and empowers youth.
Auction will remain open for one hour after the Backyard Harvest Dinner with Friends virtual event on August 19th, closing at 8 PM. Winners will be contacted by Fresh Roots with instructions to redeem their prizes.
Even if you are not able to make it to the Backyard Harvest Dinner, this is a great way to get involved in this year’s celebration. Click on the images below to start bidding!
Camp Fresh Roots is the best place for your child to grow next summer. A full week at Camp Fresh Roots lets campers ages 6 to 11 dig deep, ask questions, find answers, and connect with the wider community! All full week programs include a farm fresh snack Monday-Thursday and lunch prepared by staff and campers once a week. Full day programs also take a walking field trip or have a special guest each week. Camps are located at either the schoolyard farm at David Thompson Secondary in Vancouver or Suwa’lkh School in Coquitlam. Click here to explore our different camp options.
Valued at $370.
#2 – Fresh Roots – 2022 Full Season CSA Box Subscription
School your salad with this 20-week program lets you eat fresh and seasonally throughout the season, while also supporting Fresh Roots Schoolyard Market Gardens. For an average of $22.50/box, you get a week’s worth of produce: greens, root vegetables, fruits (like tomatoes and squash!) and herbs. Your Veggie Box will change with the season, containing 5-7 items and providing you with an amazing range of vegetables grown with care using organic practices. This is a chance to eat in an attuned way with our BC seasonality, and to discover new foods and cooking traditions. Our newsletter will provide you with recipes and ideas on how to prepare your veggies, as well as stories about the farm and programs.
Start your morning by supporting fair trade farmers when you enjoy this delectable dark roast espresso, with dark plummy notes, hints of chocolate and a sweet, velvety finish, complemented with a CoDevelopment Canada mug.
Take your drinking experience to a whole ‘nother level with apparel and merchandise, beer, hot sauce and gift card to have the ultimate backcountry adventure. This prize includes one Backcountry hoodie, two IPA glasses, one mixed 4-pack of beer, one ball cap hat, one waffle-knit toque, one t-shirt, one12oz bottle of Backcountry Beer-Infused hot sauce, and one $50 gift card.
Get a taste for Vancouver with these local favourite products. Inspired by the 100-mile diet, this gift basket showcase some of BC’s best-loved artisan products. It has been a perennial best seller for as long as we can remember, and for good reason. The quality, quantity, and composition of these gift baskets make them ultra-easy to take home and enjoy for weeks to come. And equally, if not more importantly, this gift doesn’t just say “thanks,” it expresses how much you truly appreciate everything your clients or co-workers have done.
Dive into romantic seafood dinners with your partner. With approximately 14 servings, the Organic Ocean Couples Pack has you covered impress the love in your life with a good variety of seafood.
You’re getting a lot of seafood, which is why we’ve frozen, and individually sealed each of these items for easy storage in your freezer at home. Additionally, this careful process ensures Organic Ocean’s strict standards for health and quality are maintained.
Feast on the fruits of the oceans with your loved ones. Whether it’s for family or hosting guests, the Organic Ocean Family Pack is perfect for when you have to Set the Table to feed a bunch of hungry people all craving a seafood dinner buffet. This pack is also great for seafood lovers who want to prepare a different meal each and everyday. With approximately 40 servings in this pack, we assure you there will be more than enough to go around.
You’re getting a lot of seafood, which is why we’ve frozen, and individually sealed each of these items for easy storage in your freezer at home. Additionally, this careful process ensures Organic Ocean’s strict standards for health and quality are maintained.
Enjoy Vancouver in any weather with a new pair of Vessi’s famous sneakers. This gift card gives you access to their wide selection of shoes to fit all of your outdoor needs. Using modern tech, they are 100% waterproof, breathable, lightweight, and 100% vegan.
Get eco-friendly with your bubble tea consumption with this reusable bubble tea cup gift set. The set includes two Reusable BBT Cups with bamboo lids, two stainless steel wide straws in a colour of your choice, two straw cleaning brushes for wide straws, two bamboo straw cases, and a greeting card printed on 100% paper to gift to a boba lover in your life.
Jump start your new favourite hobby from the comfort of your home with this Online Knitting Class via Zoom. This is a beginner knitting class for anyone who has never picked up needles, or for someone who is looking for a beginner refresher. Participants will learn the basics including casting on, knitting, purling and casting off. The class project will be a choice between a simple cowl or arm warmers. All the materials you need ti get started are included with registration.
Spice up your everyday meals with this delicious kimchi set. The winner will receive a taste of With/On’s local products – one jar of Traditional Napa Kimchi, one jar of Cubed Radish Kimchi and one jar of House Napa + Daikon Kimchi. Choice of regular or vegan kimchi.
Sharpen your cooking skills with your foodie friend or partner in this unforgettable culinary experience. During the hands-on classes, our experienced and engaging chef instructors walk students through each step required in crafting a complete meal of appetizer, entrée and dessert. After the preparation and plating of each dish is finished, students gather at the communal dining table in the stylish dining room to enjoy their creations alongside a glass of wine, while the staff takes care of the dirty dishes. Students use only the best tools of the trade thanks to partnerships with All Clad cookware, Wusthof knives, Wolf ranges, and Sub Zero fridges.
Check out the calendar of upcoming classes here for more information.
Date night has never looked so ‘ap-pie-tizing’ with this perfect romantic bundle. Included is one savoury pie (choice of fish, meat, vegetarian, or vegan), one bottle of BC Natural Wine by Rathjen Cellars in Vancouver Island (choice of red or white), two slices of seasonal fruit pie, and one locally-crafted chocolate bar.
Experience the the fine wines of the Okanagan Valley with a Flagship Tasting Experience for 4 people. There, the winner will also receive a bottle of Tantalus’ 2020 Bear Chardonnay, a bottle of their 2019 Pinot Noir, a jar of Arlo’s Honey farm honey that is farmed on their vineyard site, and a Tantalus merchandise market tote bag.
Create the backyard garden of your dreams with this in-ground garden installation to convert up to 100 ft2 of grass into garden space. What’s included – soil, organic soil amendments, mulch, and material for a crisp edge liner.
Curl up with a good book over your perfect of tea with this prize pack, perfect for the nature bookworm in your life!
The pack includes:
a sturdy canvas “be curious” tote bag
a ceramic chalkboard “be curious” mug
a Field Guide to Bats
“I Love Dirt: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature”
Valued at $65.
#22 – YVR Cookie – Signature Gourmet Cookies Gift Box
Discover the hype and bring out your inner cookie monster with these delicious, jumbo cookies that will make you running for more. Enjoy five locally-made Gourmet Cookies of your preference, packaged in a two-piece box set along with a personalized message and satin ribbon.
Unleash thy inner knighthood with this fundamental course for either Longsword, Rapier or Archery. This is a 1-month beginner course that give you a basic skill in either of these weapons. There are eight 1-hour classes per course. Click here for more information about each type of program.
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 artistAmanda Suutari (printed byHemlock 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
It’s Giving Tuesday next week. What is Giving Tuesday you ask? It is a global movement for giving and volunteering, which takes place each year after Black Friday the “opening day for the giving season” when charities, companies, and individuals join together and rally for their favourite causes.
At Fresh Roots we want to turn Giving Tuesday upside down and give a little something back to you, in addition to supporting a fantastic film and one of our cherished local theatres when they need it most.
Join Fresh Roots (from the comfort of your own home) for an online screening and Q & A ofFIRST WE EAT, a film that documents what happens when an ordinary family, living just south of the Arctic Circle, bans all grocery store food from their house for one year.
Click the image below to watch the trailer.
Movie screening: now through December 5th via VIFF Connect aka Vancity Theatre
We will send you an email with the promo code for $2 off the ticket price and the link to purchase your ticket from the VIFF Connect aka Vancity Theatre website (this will be done manually so please leave up to 12 hours to receive the code outside of regular business hours!)
The film will be available to watch any time between now and Dec 5th. If you are able, it would be great to watch the film before joining in on the conversation Dec 1 at 7:30PM PST
Watch for an email from Fresh Roots on Sunday, Nov, 29 which will contain a ZOOM link for the Tuesday, Dec. 1st Q & A from 7:30 PM-8:30 PM PST with FIRST WE EAT filmmaker Suzanne Crocker co-hosted by Fresh Roots fall staff Nicole and Kristen
Let Fresh Roots know what you think of FIRST WE EAT. Tag us: @freshrootsfarms on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
This event is sponsored by Fresh Roots. Only 100 promo codes for the film are available.
We look forward to having you join us!
If you would like to support Fresh Roots and the work we do please visit our donation page to learn more
HELP | Like the idea of mucking about outside on a schoolyard farm? Fresh Roots schoolyard market farm is looking for volunteers to help with a variety of farm tasks including weeding, moving compost, and spreading wood chips to help protect gardens for the winter. A little fresh air, some elbow grease, and a dose of community spirit — sounds like a good way to get grounded! There are three volunteer workdays this month. In order to manage numbers to meet with social distancing protocols, volunteers are asked to register in advance. You can do that here.
Are you itching to spend some time outside on a schoolyard farm? We are here to help! We are excited to welcome the return of volunteer sessions! Join us at the Fresh Roots schoolyard market farm at Vancouver Technical Secondary to help us with a variety of farm tasks including weeding, moving compost, or woodchips which will help us put the farm to bed for the winter! We’ve missed having folks from the community on the farm and
Join us for one of (or all!) three sessions in October!
Sessions are limited to 10 participants, to allow for physical distancing. Sign up to reserve your spot. You cannot attend without pre-registering. Please DO NOT attend if you are feeling unwell, including if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, or difficulty breathing.
What to bring:
*Garden gloves (we will have some available but ask that participants bring their own if possible)
*Rainboots or other waterproof footwear
We’re really looking forward to seeing you and sharing the magic of fall on the farm!