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Delta School District leases mini school farm to non-profit group

Fresh Roots to grow/sell produce on-site; donate part of harvest to local food security organizations

Jun. 28, 2021 4:44 p.m

 

The Delta School District has leased its dormant Farm Roots Mini School to a non-profit that will operate the farm and donate part of its harvest to local food security organizations.

In a press release issued Monday afternoon (June 28), the district announced it had leased the eight-acre Boundary Bay-area farm, located at 6570 1A Ave., to Fresh Roots, a Vancouver-based non-profit that cultivates engaging gardens and programs that encourage healthy eating, ecological stewardship and community celebration. The lease is set to run until Nov. 30, 2021.

“Fresh Roots is no stranger to our farm,” Paige Hansen, district vice-principle for academy and choice programs, said in a press release. “For several years we have worked in partnership, with the shared aim of stewarding schoolyard farms to provide meaningful learning opportunities for youth. For example, over the past three years, Fresh Roots has helped manage the farm during the summer by hosting a summer youth leadership program — Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership (SOYL). We are delighted to be able to lease our farm to them.”

The district has been unable to operate its Farm Roots Mini School for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the release, the district is using this pause in operations to “assess the best format to incorporate agricultural programming into the curriculum, with a focus on grades 7-9, to help keep elementary students’ interest in agriculture alive.”

Fresh Roots will continue to grow vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers at the farm, which will be available to the community through the on-site farm stand and at local markets. As well, Fresh Roots will be making weekly donations during harvest months to local food security organizations.

“We are so excited and grateful to have this opportunity to manage the farm for the next few months,” Fresh Roots executive director Alexa Pitoulis said in a press release. “The local community has always been so welcoming. If anyone is interested to know more about our SOYL program or has other questions, I encourage them to call me at 778-764-0DIG (0344), ext. 101.”

Meantime, the district says it will continue to use the farm as an outdoor learning classroom for students and possibly for hosting community events once pandemic restrictions allow.

 

Link to original article: https://www.peacearchnews.com/news/delta-school-district-leases-mini-school-farm-to-non-profit-group/

 

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A SOYL Summer – Part 3

A SOYL Summer- Part 3

As the 2020 SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) program heads into the fifth week of learning and growing together in Delta, Vancouver and Coquitlam we are sharing the third installment in the three-part series written by four SOYL alumni from the summer of 2019. Introducing the third installment of this three-part series:

Written by Stephanie, Maria, Railene, and Sarina, 2019 SOYL Participants

Chapter 4 – Straight Talk

Straight Talk is something a lot of us found extremely important to our SOYL experiences. Straight Talk occurs once a week and it’s where our facilitators give us constructive feedback on how our performance in the program was that week. During Straight Talk, we get two positive things our facilitators saw us doing that week, and we get one thing that we may want to focus a little harder on.  Straight Talk is so important because it gives us another person’s point of view on our growth and participation so it helps us recognize our strengths and help us grow in areas we need to or struggle with. 

 

Chapter 5 –  Farmer’s Market

As we continue learning more about the farm, we also learned how to harvest and process the vegetables. First, we ask one of the farm team staff how to pull out the vegetables properly because you want to make sure if you’re doing it right. Second, we want to make sure that all the vegetables were properly washed because you don’t want any dirt on them. How do we wash our vegetables? Well, the farm team set up a harvest station to wash the vegetables and totes. After all the vegetables are nice and clean we put them in a tote for the farmer’s market. During the market, we learned how to sell our produce that we have locally grown in our schoolyard farms. We also gain customer service skills and share with the customers what is Fresh Roots about or even about the SOYL program. One of the things we sold in the market was our salsa! We spent a whole day in  SOYL making the salsa. In the kitchen one of our facilitators showed us how to cut the vegetables into smaller pieces, after that she showed us how to measure the salsa and how to can them properly.

 

Chapter 6: Leadership

Leadership is written in SOYL’s title. SOYL stands for Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership. During this six-week summer program we crawl out of our shells, have new experiences, and become more confident. Every week a pair of SOYL crew members plan and lead a warm-up game for the morning. The warm-up games taught us how to speak in front of people. It helped us practice speaking clearly in front of lots of people. The fun warm-up games always wake all of us up. Giving and receiving feedback was important and that’s what FLIF is for. FLIF stands for “How do you Feel? What did you Like? What could you Improve? And would you like to receive Feedback?”We love sitting in a circle and appreciating our peers for their amazing work with positive and constructive feedback. Another part of leadership was learning the importance of active listening. In that workshop, we sat in front of our partners listening to them with active expressions. We practiced engaging with people’s conversations with patience, avoiding interrupting topics. SOYL has taught all of us how to be leaders!

Proceeds from the Fresh Roots Fourth Annual Schoolyard Dinner *At Home Edition* fundraiser On Sale Now provide critical funding for Fresh Roots programs, like SOYL, that engage and empower youth more important now than ever!