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Farmer’s Log, Seed Date July 1, 2021

July 1st. Wait, what? It’s J U L Y ? It’s July and the kale has exploded along with the weeds. I’m so thankful for our hard-working team (not just the farm workers!) and the handful of volunteers who have joined us in liberating our crops from the overwhelm of hungry, green-leaved neighbours. Fresh Roots has a few hungry neighbours of the human variety, too, which has made an impact on our yields. The unique pressures of Urban Farming continue to surface as we try our best to fulfil commitments to our CSA members, Markets, Programming, the Community Eats Program, Lunch Lab, and Donor Recipients such as South Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Hub. All of this is to say, I feel the theme of the past month has been about Community. 

Community

The Fresh Roots Community is blooming into the Summer Queen that she is. All of the youth hired under the Canada Summer Jobs contracts are trained up and ready to operate the Fresh Roots Summer Kingdom (aka Farm). By the second week of July, we’ll have SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) participants growing, learning and leading at three sites, keen to pull weeds and distribute wood chips (I can’t wait to utilize those hands!) and harvest veggies for the market. 

Our Community Supported Agriculture Program is in its 5th week, now, getting our lovely greens and roots into the hands of thoughtful consumers who know their investment is supporting not only the operation of our farm, but also our programming to employ youth and teach kids about agriculture and themselves. It has been a pleasure to put the faces to the names on our CSA sheet and watch as our vegetable babies find their forever homes… in your mouths, I guess?

We attend two markets with two distinct but wonderful communities: Saturdays at Riley Park we connect with the market-goers, organizers and vendors that make up the incredible Vancouver Farmers Market; and on Wednesdays our market is hosted by the ever-generous folks at the Italian Cultural Centre. The ICC market community ‘feel’ is definitely different this season than last – yes, that means the pizza and wine are missing. That is because the ICC is putting their effort into supporting the community in another way: they are hosting an epic vaccination site, seeing an average of 1600 members of our community get vaccinated each day. So while I’m sad that we don’t get a slice of pizza, I’m happier still that we are overcoming this virus with the support of places like the ICC. 

Other amazing community experiences include ogling all the adorable dogs that are walked around the periphery of the farms, connecting with our curious neighbors, playing I-spy with neighbourhood kids, chatting with students who attend the schools where we farm, and staff sharing a lunch of Fresh Roots Salad Mix with that tasty yeast dressing we all love. 

I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg that is the support and connection happening between the coreteam members of Fresh Roots! It seriously takes so much teamwork to adorn our Lady Fresh Roots with the glory she deserves. It takes meetings — so. many. meetings — and so much planning, and phone calls, and notes and communication boards to make sure all the cogs are turning in time between each department. There is also a lot of: “who does what?” in this organization, as she evolves and transitions into something new, it seems like every moment. 

So, yeah. We get weedy, and stuff gets stolen, but the trade off for working in a supportive community is totally worth it.

-Farmer Camille

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Make It SOW is BACK!

Over the past year, the need for and the power of our SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) program has become so clear with critical opportunities for youth to connect with their peers and mentors in person severely limited for the past 14 plus months due to the ongoing pandemic.

This spring, we saw a much higher demand for the SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) program in Vancouver alone. 130 youth applied for 25 spots in our unique SOYL program for 2021. We need extra support to pay for an increased cost for supplies and workshops this summer and to grow the program to meet the overwhelming demand for next year.

The Problem

  • In British Columbia, 1 in 6 kids lives in households experiencing food insecurity.
  • Canadians spend more time indoors than ever before—approximately 90% of each day—and most of that time is spent sitting in front of a screen.
  • B.C. youth are reporting an increase in mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and PTSD. The COVID-19 pandemic has made these numbers even worse.
  • With so many opportunities and programs for young people cut or canceled this past year, we’ve become acutely aware of Fresh Roots’ unique position to fill the gap with much-needed time spent outside on the schoolyard farms we steward.

How You Can Help

 

  1. Sponsor an item (or two!) from our wishlist
  2. Register as an individual or a team to spread the word with your own sub-campaign
  3. Contribute a one-time donation with a custom amount
  4. Become a MONTHLY DONOR   and provide steady & predictable income to ensure we can consistently run our programming in addition to being able to plan ahead and grow our existing offerings.
  5. Share with your friends and family, tagging us @freshrootsfarms and using the hashtag #makeitsow

Help us GROW!

WHAT WE DO

Together, we:

  • Create and steward Schoolyard Farms
  • Facilitate outdoor experiential learning with teachers and students
  • Mentor youth through field trips and classes on the schoolyard farms, after school clubs and summer programming,
  • Host work experience opportunities for high school-aged youth and young adults
  • Connect community to growing food through our volunteer opportunities
  • Share food with the community —through food-access programs and to our neighbours and community through farmers markets and our CSA veggie box program
  • Provide support for school gardens and associated programming through summer support and teacher professional development