2023 Applications Open Extended to April 30!

*We will be following the guidelines the recommended protocols for outdoor farm work as well as the social distancing guidelines as outlined by the Provincial Healthcare Ministry and the BC Centre for Disease Control. These protocols will be shared with parents and students before the start of the program.*

What is SOYL?

SOYL is a 6-week summer leadership and empowerment program offered by Fresh Roots in partnership with school districts. We run SOYL in two different locations:

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 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 by engaging in field trips with local food organizations.

SOYL made me realize that whatever I end up doing needs to have some way of connecting it to the Earth and the land we are coming from because you can’t really  accomplish any sort of justice without including ecosystems, because everything is connected.”SOYL Youth 2021, Vancouver

To learn more about the SOYL program in the youth’s own words, check out the SOYL posts on our blog!

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.

Mentors must attend extra programming on Fridays and/or Saturdays. In recognition of their additional time and responsibilities, mentors earn a stipend for the summer.


When does the program take place?

Dates & Times 

  • SOYL @ Vancouver:  July 4th-August 11th, 2023
  • SOYL @ Suwa’lkh (Coquitlam): July 4th-August 11th, 2023

Participants are also expected to attend one or two Farmer Markets shifts,  as part of their program experience. 

Where are the programs located?

  • SOYL @ Vancouver: Vancouver Technical Secondary (2600 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5M 1Y5) or David Thompson Secondary (1755 E 55th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5P 1Z7).
  • SOYL @  Suwa’lkh School (1432 Brunette Ave, Coquitlam, BC V3K 6X5)

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.

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 weekly stipend for their contributions throughout the summer. The stipend is paid in 2 installments: the first, after 3 weeks of the 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. Participants in the program are eligible to receive summer credits courses (courses vary across locations). Additionally, if you are interested in receiving Work Experience credit, please talk 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

 Who do I contact if my question isn’t answered here?

Send us an email to soyl@freshroots.ca or call us  778-764-0344 ext 102.

SOYL is made possible by

“We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.”