Empowering youth to grow themselves and Good Food

What is SOYL?

SOYL is a 6-week summer leadership and empowerment program offered by Fresh Roots. We have three different locations:

  • SOYL @ Vancouver.
  • SOYL @ Suwa’lkh (Coquitlam).
  • SOYL @ Farm Roots (Delta).

The program empowers secondary students to cultivate and steward schoolyard farms for learning, community building and growing Good Food for All. Through their time with SOYL, youth develop skills in growing, cooking, and selling food, as well as a greater connection to themselves, their community, and the regional food system. Youth also receive a stipend, community service hours, and can receive school credit for their contributions.

What happens at SOYL?

Throughout the summer, youth are learning and leading on the Fresh Roots farms. They’re growing, cooking, and selling, meeting friends, and exploring the food system. Youth:


Grow Good Food for themselves and their community


Prepare weekly farm-fresh meals with local chefs to enjoy as a community


Preserve and share the harvest through youth-led social enterprise, building experience as entrepreneurs


Develop personal capacity through a variety of food systems and leadership workshops


Sell Good Food at farmers’ markets, develop financial literacy, customer service, and public engagement skills.


Explore Metro Vancouver’s food system through engaging field trips with local food organizations.

“Doing SOYL, I wake up excited every single morning, excited about all the new amazing things I’m going to be learning, about the amazing people I’m being surrounded with. For so long I was like ‘Another day, another drag,’ but now I’m like, ‘Let’s do this!’” — SOYL 2016 Crew Member

To learn more about the SOYL program in the youth’s own words, check out the all the SOYL posts on our blog, and click here for photos from the program!

SOYL Mentorship Program

As part of fostering ongoing opportunities for youth leadership, previous SOYL Crew can apply to return as SOYL Mentors. Mentors take on additional responsibilities on the farms, support incoming youth and continue growing their skills as leaders, farmers and role models in the community.

This season, we will empower four or five SOYL Mentors. Mentors must attend an extra week of training before SOYL begins. They also attend extra programming on Fridays and/or Saturdays. In recognition of their additional time and responsibilities, mentors earn a stipend for the summer. If you are interested in becoming a SOYL Mentor, please email to access the application form.

2019 Dates

SOYL @ Vancouver:  July 8th to August 15th.

SOYL @ Farm Roots (Delta): July 2nd to August 8th.

SOYL @ Suwa’lkh (Coquitlam): July 2nd to August 8th.


Registration for All SOYL programs is closed. Thanks for applying!


When does the program take place?

2019 Dates & Times 

  • SOYL @ Vancouver: July 8th to August 15th, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am- 4:00 pm.
  • SOYL @ Farm Roots (Delta): July 2nd to August 8th, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am- 4:00 pm.
  • SOYL @ Suwa’lkh (Coquitlam): July 2nd to August 8th, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am- 4:00 pm.

Participants are also expected to attend one or two Farmer Markets shifts,  as part of their program experience. Participants are able to select their preferred market date upon acceptance to the program.

Where are the programs located?

How do I get to the program?

Participants are expected to arrange their own transportation to the program each day. We encourage the use of public transit and can provide support in planning transit routes to each location.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for SOYL 2019, applicants must meet the following criteria: Able to attend all 6 weeks of program: Monday to Thursday,  9 am – 4 pm and at least one Farmers Market shift.

How many spots are available in the program?

In 2018, we selected 30 youth to join the SOYL crew. For 2019, we have expanded the program and will be able to hire more youth! Not all who apply will necessarily be accepted, so please take the time to prepare a thoughtful and thorough application.

Do I need a reference?

You do not need a reference to apply. However, if you have any adults or other support figures in your life who would like to express their support for your application, you can provide their contact information in the “referral” section of the application form.

How much will I be paid?

SOYL Crew receives a $600 stipend for their contributions throughout the summer. The stipend is paid in 2 instalments: the first after 3 weeks of program, and the second upon program completion.

How do I receive school credit for being part of SOYL?

At this time, there are a couple of options for receiving credit for your participation in the SOYL program. All participants in the program are eligible to receive summer credits courses (courses varies across locations). Additionally, if you are interested in receiving Work Experience credit, please speak to the Work Experience teacher at your school.

How much physical labour is part of the program?

Participants will be expected to perform moderate physical labour as part of the program and should be comfortable working outdoors in various weather conditions.

“Even if you think your mind is open, SOYL really opens your mind so much more than you’d expect. And from that, it humbles you because you’re in the dirt, in the sun. Even though being in the dirt doesn’t seem that appealing, it teaches you something. You get great work experience and the environment is really great, and there’s a really diverse group of people that you get to meet and interact with. It’s so much more than just farm work in the sun.” — SOYL 2018 Crew Member

Contact Information:


SOYL is made possible by

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