It’s here! Our 2021 Annual Impact Report is now available online. We’re so grateful for everyone that made 2021 a remarkable year for experiential learning and youth empowerment including our donors, community partners, staff, participants, volunteers, supporters – without you, our work would not be possible. Below is an excerpt from the letter from our Executive Director, Alexa Pitoulis, and Board Chair, Matt Breech:
It’s always interesting to decide what factoids and numbers we share in this report to convey the work we do and why it matters. The impact beyond the metrics is what we want you to feel and appreciate. The true effects of Fresh Roots’ work are not found in the number of participants or the number of carrots we grow and sell—they are felt in the lasting experiences and stories of learning that our kids, youth and summer staff carry with them for life. These experiences turn into conversations with their peers and parents, and impact their choices at the grocery store, their career path, or how they engage in their communities. We tell these stories on our website’s blog, often in the voices of the youth themselves as they reflect on what they have learned and value most during their participation in our programs. They speak of their growth in confidence and the ableness they now recognize in themselves. Read more >>
Check out the full report by clicking on the image below!
Fresh Roots – UPDATED 2021 Impact Report
by Joaquin Redo Rato, SOYL Vancouver Mentor
Several wonderful, fun hours of labor and toil have been spent on the farm here at SOYL! Today I will talk about what my crew, Crew C, and I have been up to these last few days.
Here at the farm, we use organic practices meaning no pesticides are added to the farm. Unfortunately, we do have problems with pest which makes this an expensive endeavor. Invasive plant species also pose harm to us as they invade our fields and choke out our crops. That is why weeding them out of our soil is an important part of managing and growing crops.
My crew and I have been a leading front against the war on weeds. The youth here at SOYL work hard in the sun all morning to take out all the enemy plants up to their roots without complaint, only stopping for the occasional water break. Big or small, we get them – then we stuff them into a wheelbarrow which is dumped into the compost bin. We like to keep our farm nice and clean as it gives it a sense of organization, so we also try to pick off any stray leaves or grasses to make sure the ground is spotless. The rats have gotten to some of the ripe crops, so we are going to have to find a way to deal with them without the use of pesticides. Our main goal right now is to eradicate the problem of weeds by putting tarps and natural barriers to protect the farm crops from being choked, but we need to get rid of the existing weeds first to prevent spread.
That’s all for today’s report! Thanks for checking in.
Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.
From Alexa, our Executive Director
There’s an eagle nest at the farm site that Fresh Roots stewards with Delta Farm Roots—a farming mini-school program located on the unceded and traditional territory of the Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations. Perched high above in its treetop nest, I wonder what the eagle observes of us. What does it see that we can’t—in how we go about working on the land, and how we navigate working with each other? 2020 was a year that forced new ways of being, but also encouraged new points of view.
At Fresh Roots, this has meant examining what it means for our work to be regenerative. Working from a regenerative approach means to be constantly re-assessing and mindfully evolving. We already know our work is more than just growing food—it’s engaging with and building our community. With that in mind, it’s important for us to learn and listen, to become better allies, and to be stronger and louder advocates for anti-racism and justice. As an organization, our goal is to develop those values and ways of being in our team and in the youth with whom we engage. We are all training to be our own observant eagles, looking out for ourselves and each other. We’re committed to noticing, addressing, and evolving systems that were created with colonial, racist and oppressive mindsets.
At Fresh Roots, we’ve always known the richest learnings for kids and youth (self-confidence, self-awareness, sense of belonging) have come through the medium of growing, preparing and sharing food. Our path to becoming a regenerative organization reinforces the “roots” we have been nourishing. Every moment out on the schoolyard farms is precious. We are so excited for this growing season and invite you to join us!
Click on the image below to view the report!