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Help! Fresh Roots is Urgently Seeking a Cooler Space in Vancouver

Hello to all Fresh Roots’ wonderful friends & community partners,

I’m reaching out today to ask for help. We have had to vacate our cooler space and need a solution ASAP so that we can operate our market and CSAs this season starting May 15th, 2024. Without a cooler, we may have to cancel and refund our commitments. 

Since our options on our growing sites are limited, we are reaching out to our community to see if there are any other opportunities.

We need a cooler to help keep our weekly harvest by our farm team & youth fresh for the community. Without a cooler, we limit the amount and quality that we can harvest and process in a shorter amount of time, as well as put our farmers and youth at risk by limiting when things can be harvested, especially in the summer heat.

There are two directions we can explore:

  1. A temporary solution: this season starting in mid-May to Oct. 31 to hold us over until we arrive at a permanent solution.
  2. A permanent solution: ongoing, multi-year agreement or set-up for a cooler space that fits our list of needs.

Our Needs

  • 4-6 pallets worth of refrigerated space
  • Flexible access with our own set of keys
  • Located in East Van – ideally within 2 km north of Vancouver Technical Secondary (2600 East Broadway) and 2km south of David Thompson Secondary (1755 East 55th Ave) but we are welcoming suggestions beyond that area.

We are open to:

  • Sharing/renting space
  • Retrofitting a container with a coolbot system or hiring someone to invent a mobile cooler
    1. This option requires a place to park our unit and;
    2. Electricity / Solar Panels (are you an electrician with experience with this kind of thing?)
    3. Possibly also a water hookup, even just with a long hose to an indoor area

Help us save our markets and CSA’s this season, keeping our harvested veggies fresh, but also our opportunities for youth this summer!

Thanks for the time you’ve taken to read this over. If you have resources that fit any of these parameters, we are eager to connect. My contact is listed below. We can pay, trade, share, promote — anything — we just need somewhere to house our veggies through the summer!

Fresh Roots community! We need your help to find our next cooler space.

Contact

Camille Flanjak (she/they)

Director of Farming and Operations

Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society

ph: 778-764-0DIG (0344), ext. 111

camille@freshroots.ca

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FARMER’S LOG, SEED DATE OCTOBER 26, 2022

It’s time to wrap things up on the farm. We had our last market of the season on Saturday and final CSA pickup the week before. Even though our plants aren’t melting away like they usually do at this time of the year, they have stopped producing and are ready for their next stage of life and death in the compost. 

While Fresh Roots winterizes the farms, we are also looking for someone to replace me during my parental leave in 2023. This person will be starting early in the year and working all season, overlapping with my return at the end of the summer. I’m hoping to find a person who will want to continue working with Fresh Roots for many years to come after I’m back. So, in an effort to recruit someone awesome, I’ve decided to use this blog entry to give a little breakdown of my position during peak season, and make it easier for folks to imagine themselves here

Farm Manager: Season Overview

The FR core team spends the winter strategizing on how to make things smooth, fun, and true to our overall mission. This makes spring feel totally fresh and exciting. The first thing the farm manager does is review the crop plan, count the seeds, and place a seed order. Then, there’s organizing the spaces, figuring out what compost and amendments are needed, and spending more money (provided by early season CSA purchases)  on all the good stuff. Seeds for our long-season crops need to be started either in the ‘grow-op’ in our storage space at the office, or in the prop house in the courtyard of David Thompson. Direct seeding starts at the end of February, so a portion of the farm’s beds need to be prepped and amended in preparation.

Next is hiring the farm team. The team looks a little different every year depending on where we are farming, but for the Vancouver site, I hire the following positions: 1) Market Lead, 2) David Thompson Field Lead, 3) Van Tech Field Lead, and 4) SOYL Jr Market Assistant. There may also be volunteers,  interns and LFS students who need to be onboarded, too. 

By May, all these folks should have their schedules and start a 5-week training program to get familiar with their responsibilities. This means that by the middle of June and the start of the CSA pickup, the staff and volunteers know what’s up and can graduate to beginning their leadership phase. This marks the start of Peak Season when we all need to work together as an oiled machine to meet our goals. By the first week of July, our summer youth internship program starts up, and SOYL youth will be directed by the farm workers in farm and market tasks for 6 weeks. 

A Week in the Boots of a Farm Manager

Here’s what my week looked like in 2022’s peak season, keeping in mind that 2023 may look differently depending on which markets we sign-up for, how we structure our CSA, and who is helping us harvest:

Monday: Admin and Communications 

This work can either be done on the Fresh Roots computers in our office or from home on the farm manager’s personal computer. I usually work from home with my cat on my lap and a steamy mug of tea. 

  • Email, orders, payments, newsletters, blog
  • Data entry of harvest, sales & CSA records from the previous week
  • 15-minute visits to the sites to see what veggies are coming up and making lists of what needs to be done
  • This week’s harvest planning for CSA and Market. Record plans in the Harvest Plan and CSA Plan documents
  • Field work plans for the week plus delegation of seeding & transplanting plans and ensuring data entry has been done
  • Work plan emailed to all the farm team including links to Field Work, CSA & Harvest Plans
  • Communicating in slack with all the other departments in Fresh Roots about what kids can do on the farm, and where we might need help. This means making clear plans with facilitators and managers in: Experiential Learning (EL), Sustainable Opportunities for Youth leadership (SOYL), & our Administrators (ED, Ops, and Comms). 
  • Fresh Sheet for EL so they can plan their farm lunches for day camp (feeds 40 kids)
  • Expense reporting
  • Review & approve the farm team’s hours if it’s the end of a pay period

Tuesday – Harvest Day

  • 730am: meet at David Thompson to harvest tender veggies
  • 1130am: ICC cooler – drop off harvest and eat lunch
  • 1-3pm: Van tech harvest of fruiting veggies / hot crops
  • 3-330pm: drop off harvest at the ICC cooler

Wednesday – Market Day & CSA Pickup #1

  • 730am: harvest flowers & any remaining harvest needed for CSA or Market
  • 1130am: pick up our bread order and maybe mushroom order
  • Lunch!
  • 1-330pm: help set up the market (operates 3-7)  with the Market Lead and whoever is helping out that day; either another farm team member, SOYL Youth, or volunteers

Thursday – Harvest Day

  • 730am: David Thompson
  • 1130am: ICC Cooler
  • Lunch!
  • 1-3pm: Van Tech
  • 3-330pm: ICC cooler

Friday – Field Work, Remaining Harvest & CSA Delivery for Pickup #2

  • 730am: complete any necessary harvest for CSA Pickup / Saturday market. Otherwise field work! 230 CSA Delivery to Collingwood Neighbourhood House for their “Community Care Veggie Box” program
  • 330pm: finished!

Saturday – VFM Market 

OFF!

Sunday – Everybody takes a day of rest!

OFF!

Wrapping Up the Season

Once the farm team’s summer contracts are over – usually at the end of August – one of the workers will stay on through the fall to help wrap up the CSA & markets and to winterize the farm. In 2023, I’ll be back to help the acting FM wrap things up. Together, we’ll write the crop plan for 2024 and work on the end-of-season reporting. We’ll also staff any remaining markets together, likely adjusting our schedules to Tuesday to Saturday. 

There are many other pieces of work that aren’t explicitly outlined in my weekly schedule – like all the planning and training that happens, community outreach events, volunteer events, tours, and workshops I lead. These bits and bobs are usually crammed into Mondays or Fridays, or woven into harvest days. Volunteer and youth training is also delegated to the farm team members during their field work time. Overseeing the schedules of each farm team member can be a jigsaw puzzle, noting that each member has their own domain to manage and it’s up to the Farm Manager to make sure responsibilities are fulfilled and deadlines are being met so we can meet our CSA and Market commitments. It’s also up to the Farm manager to make sure that mentorship is happening across the organization – so that the farm team members are supported and empowered to teach youth the skills they’ve acquired in their first 5 weeks. 

Peak Season is incredibly dense but it’s a lot of fun. All of the folks working on the farm are youth – from the farm team to the 4-year old campers in the EL program. There is so much life and energy to play with in this job, and I hope whoever is looking for that kind of fun will apply!

– Farmer Camille

Do you have what it takes to be our Acting Good Farm Manager in 2023? Apply here: https://freshroots.bamboohr.com/careers/53

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6 Vegetables Kids Will Love

By Andrea Lucy, Experiential Learning Program Lead

With planting season upon us, we’re prepping our farm beds with vegetables kids love! The farm is a place to experiment and experience. Kids are introduced to the wonderfulness of vegetables in a low-pressure environment through taking “adventure bites” of new veggies, making art with crops, playing games, and planting seeds. Vegetables can bring us joy in many different ways.

Over the years, we have found kids have a special liking for some specific vegetables. Whether you’re planting your own garden or looking for new vegetables to introduce to the dinner table, here are some favourites to try:


Peas

Peas of any colour and shape are well-loved! We plant a number of varieties, including Parsley Pea, Sugar Ann, Dwarf Grey Sugar, and Purple Mist. Now is the perfect time to begin planting them for a late spring harvest, and we can replant them in late summer for a fall harvest. Enjoy the crunchy pods and the tender new leaves.

 


Tokyo Bekana

This mustard crop was a huge hit amongst campers last year! The leaves and buttery and the stems are crunchy. A perfect addition to salads, spring rolls, sushi, and even blended-in smoothies. But if we’re being honest, the kids’ favourite way to eat it was straight from the ground in handfuls.

 

 

Hakurei Turnips

These Japanese-bred turnips are a huge hit! The circular white root is smooth and sweet. While they can grow quite large, kids seem to like them best when they are young and bit size. We love cutting them up raw and eating them with a yummy greek yogurt dip.


Carrots

There is nothing kids enjoy harvesting more than pulling a carrot out of the ground. We like surprising them with a purple or yellow carrot. Depending on the variety, carrots can be planted year-round on the coast. If kids are impatiently waiting for the carrots to grow to size, have them try the carrot-flavour leaves.


Lemon Cucumbers

Although it’s still a little early to plant lemon cucumbers, they are a treat worth waiting for. They are small, round, yellow cucumbers with a juicy and crunchy lemon flavour. It’s the perfect summer treat. We grow them draping over the side of a raised bed so all the kids can reach them. Wipe the little prickles off the cucumber’s peel with a towel, and it’s ready to munch and crunch.


Sorrel

Like sour candies? Then this is the plant for you! The leaves contain an acid that makes them sour and tart like a lemon. Nibble raw or add them to salads, sour soups, or a layer in spanakopita. This may be the most citrus-tasting leaf you ever try.

Taste them on the farm!

Come visit our farm to taste and grow these delicious veggies and more!

Sign up for a spring Vancouver Farm Field Trip for your class

Grow, harvest, and cook all week-long at Camp Fresh Roots this summer

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Meet the Flame Weeder: Why We’re Using Fire on the Farm

By Andrea Lucy, Experiential Learning Program Lead

Last year, we wrote about how weeds can be used as food and medicine. Now I’m about to tell you that at Fresh Roots we remove most of our weeds. Surprised?

We’ve got a problem. It’s as thick as weeds out there on the farm. Whether you view weeds in a good or bad light, we have WAY too many! From February to October, our farmers spend the time planting. From February to February, our farmers weed, over and over and over again. It’s a losing battle, nature has a leg up on us. And it’s a shame. Not only does it mean it’s more difficult and time-consuming for us to grow beautiful, large produce to share with the community, but it also means students spend less time planting, caring for sprouts, and harvesting because the time is consumed by weeding.

But, we have a solution. Introducing the flame weeder!

Fresh Roots farmer with a flame weeder in July. The flame weeder is burning all the weeds in the carrot beds, helping our little carrots germinate and sprout without competition for nutrients and water.

Did your jaw drop? Mine did too at first when I heard we use this. After last year’s wildfires that wreaked through interior BC, the last thing we want is fire on the landscape. Right? Not necessarily. As our farmers have shown, the difference here is that the flame weeder is a very controlled fire. We choose where the small fire goes, and have all the resources at the ready to put the fire out when we want to.

Here are a few reasons why a flame weeder is a beneficial tool on our farms:

  • Helps us grow food organically without the use of pesticides.
  • Reclaim farmland we can’t use otherwise due to the forest of weeds
  • Increases efficiency (eg: less labour weeding = more food to market)
  • More time for education, less time weeding
  • Learning with plants year-round. During the winter many classes visit our farms, but because of our issues with weeds, we have to cover all our rows with black tarps to try to smother the weeds during winter. Therefore, visiting classes can’t engage with any winter crops or plants.
  • Can practice no-till method with the flame weeder, meaning we don’t destroy the delicate network of bacteria, fungi, invertebrates, and nutrients built up in the soil. The no-till method also reduces soil erosion.

We’ve got a plan, now all we need are a couple more flame weeders to add to our toolkit.

 

Using controlled fire on the landscape is nothing new, but it’s something we’ve forgotten in the last 150 years of colonization. Dr. Amy Christianson’s and many other Indigenous scholars and firefighters’ work on “Good Fire” is bringing this sustainable tradition back to light, during a time it’s desperately needed. This Ologies podcast with host Alie Ward and guest Dr. Amy Christianson is an eye-opening introduction to Indigenous Fire Ecology . The Good Fire podcast goes even deeper, with an emphasis on the BC context.

To learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly of weeds, try out some of the hands-on activities here:

Needy Weedy Activities

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And That’s a Wrap for 2021!

Thank you so much for your ongoing support. As we reflect on the past year, we’re proud of the community we are growing with you. We see so much hope for the future in the kids and youth we get to work with. Experiencing what is possible through engaging youth and the community in growing food on schoolyard farms is incredibly energizing. 

 The hope we see and feel is because YOU are part of the progress we are making. Fresh Roots is fortunate to be part of an interconnected and supportive community of individuals, businesses and organizations who are re-imagining food education and community-based learning. Through deepening our relationships with you all and with the land upon which we are privileged to work, we are learning and innovating. We’d like to share some highlights from the past year and some of the ways we engaged with kids, youth and the community:

  • SOYL (Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership) we welcomed 65 high school youth in Vancouver, Delta and Coquitlam for 6 weeks of contributing to farm work, learning from local knowledge keepers about the land upon which our programs take place, cooking and sharing meals with each other and the community and co-running our weekly farm markets.
  • LunchLAB Community Eats was one of the biggest highlights of the 2021 season. Getting to cook and share food again after a pause last summer due to COVID-19 restrictions meant so much to everyone at Fresh Roots where harvesting food and preparing and sharing meals is a foundational part of our programming and an extra special treat for little and big kids alike. With our partners at Growing Chefs, we adapted our educational, in-school meal program, LunchLAB, to be included as part of the summer SOYL program. We hired 3 Chef Educators who worked with rotating cook teams of 5 SOYL youth two times per week to prepare lunch for 40 of their peers. Lucky Fresh Roots staff and community guests! Along with Growing Chefs, we were also able to restart our LunchLAB program at Total Education Secondary Program this fall, serving delicious and nutritious chef and student prepared meals to students and staff in school!
  • Summer Camp and Experiential Learning programs engaged learners from grades pre-K through 12 in 11,000 hours of learning on the farms and in the community! We expanded to 9 weeks of summer camps doubling the number of kids from 125 to 286. We hosted field trips for over 60 classes from local elementary and secondary schools on the farms and brought our Farm 2 You workshop program to over 30 classes and day camp groups.
    • Gatherings cautiously returned this fall and we were thrilled to support Vancouver Technical Secondary School in preparing food for both the Grade 8 Welcome Orientation Lunch (350 parents and students) and the Indigenous Family Gathering (100 community members). For both events, SOYL Alumni and youth volunteers pitched in to prepare and serve food to their community.
  • Farms and Markets were bustling this 2021 season! We grew over 150 types of plants using organic practices which made their way into the community through 4 weekly markets in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Delta, 65 CSA Veggie Box shares, events and gatherings and donations to local neighbourhood houses.  

 

Lastly, we’ll share a few last words from some of the folks who speak to our programs from their own lived experiences:

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

Kudos to the Delta SOYL Team and all the SOYL staff! Cam has absolutely loved this experience. We so appreciate that this opportunity is available to him. He has become more confident, independent, met new friends and his anxiety has become way less! He has learned great responsibility and skills that will serve him well in the workforce. He also loves to cook and having exposure to a chef and vegan recipes has been awesome. This has been amazing for him as a person. Thank you to you and all of the leaders. Your hard work has really paid off!!!

Josie Zhan, Parent of Cameron SOYL 2021 Delta Mentor

With the state of the world today, specifically climate change, we need to find ways to be resourceful and knowledgeable of our food sources.  Students need to learn how to treat our earth so that we may reap the rewards of its gifts.  This program inspires students to learn and enjoy all aspects of where their food comes from and the delight of tasting it. 

Gaye Dalla-Zanna, Grade 7 Teacher, Farm Observers Program

 

We’re closing out this year with ever-present natural disasters and crises dominating news threads. Messages tell us to be worried, scared, sad, and that we need to act now. And while there is no doubt urgent work is needed, Fresh Roots is growing the next generations to be best equipped to navigate the changes to come. We do this by supporting the self-determination of kids and youth to build lasting relationships with people, places, and food. We see them growing their confidence in discovering more about themselves and their role in the community. 

So, thank you. Thank you for believing in Fresh Roots and our vision for Good Food For All. We are incredibly grateful for you, our community and your continued support.

With gratitude,

Alexa, Executive Director

To DONATE and receive 2021 tax receipt visit: freshroots.ca/donate/

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Community Spotlight – Made by Malcolm

By Jaimie Rosenwirth, Suwa’lkh Lead and Malcolm’s Support Worker

Malcolm’s Story

Malcolm is a valued Fresh Roots community member with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and the garden at Suwa’lkh School in Kwikwetlem (Coquitlam) is a place that he loves to spend time. He has been working out in the garden with Fresh Roots for 5 or 6 years now. He was a student at Suwa’lkh who helped create the garden and orchard and helped develop the 7 acre food forest next to the school. During his last year of school he worked outside 3 hours a week, seeding, weeding and uppotting. After Malcolm graduated in 2020 he wanted to continue working in the garden. He started volunteering twice a week and kept coming to the garden throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided him with a safe, welcoming place to go every week. This is a place where he is able to build lasting connections with the community.

Malcolm loves to do the uppotting and seed start tasks. Weeding is also a task he loves because there isn’t too much to think about. With weeding everything must go! Malcolm really enjoyed the seed saving of lupine seeds this summer. Harvesting, leaving them to dry in a paper bag, separating seeds, packaging and labelling. He asked if we would be doing this again next year. Malcolm also really enjoys harvesting the purple peacock beans. These are easy to spot and we just have to pull them all off. The simple repetitive tasks are great for Malcolm. He does enjoy learning new farm tasks when we are able. The more things he can do means he has more choices of tasks to choose from when he is here.

Sonia, Malcolm’s Mom, has said “We are so blessed that he is so welcome there! I tell everyone what an amazing program it is all the time. He is so lucky to have Fresh Roots”.

Support the ‘Made by Malcolm’ Fundraiser!

In addition to dedicating his time to help out on the Suwa’lkh schoolyard farm, Malcolm fundraises by selling Made by Malcolm handmade cards. In January, he raised $362.34 in support of Fresh Roots experiential food literacy education programs. Way to go, Malcom and Jaimie!

Malcolm is back with another Made by Malcom Fresh Roots fundraiser, selling sets of holiday cards for $5! Each set comes with four cards (star, tree, snowflake and stocking). Show your support by purchasing a set of cards through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Made-by-Malcom-655182104946615/!

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Farmer’s Log, Seed Date November 1, 2021

Of course, the day that I need to sit inside and hammer out a blog, the sun decides to shine and the sky is bright blue. At least I don’t have to squeeze into my mud-soaked raingear today, which is the norm this time of year. 

Reading back on last month’s blog, the goals I set for the farm seemed realistic and intuitive. Alas, this is not how things usually go. Piper, Galen and I went out to Delta to lend hands in planting their garlic and clearing out the high tunnel. We had the intention to harvest the seaweed that was washed up on the beach out there but a storm blew it all away. We also had intentions to piggyback on Delta’s compost pile but ran out of time tying ristra peppers from rafters so couldn’t shovel it into the truck. This all translates into later planting and mulching dates, and more days in transit between locations. 

Galen and I did get our garlic planted at Van Tech: 4 X 45 ft beds (not ten, like I imagined) to mature into big heads of Russian Red Garlic. Amendments we used were compost and river sand, sul-po-mag, and blood meal. We mulched with 6 inches of straw and will add seaweed when it washes ashore in Delta again and we have time to harvest it. We messed around with the spacing a little bit but ended up with 3 rows per bed, intermittently planted (laid out in a posts-and-windows pattern) 6-8 inches apart. It’s important to make sure each clove has 3-4 inches in every direction so it has space to expand its roots and get juicy. That means we planted about 1,000 cloves in these four beds. We also installed 3 X 25-ft beds at about 4-inch spacing for green garlic, which is like a delicious, garlic-flavoured leek harvested in the spring. For this purpose, we used the smallest cloves and some bulbils (garlic flower-produced seed). I’m excited to see how they turn out — I’m expecting thin, single-cloved, tender stalks that we will bunch for our CSA in 2022.

Although our markets and CSA are done for the season, we still have brassicas and chicory producing tasty cold-sweetened shoots. Japanese Sweet Potatoes were dug, and about 200 pounds of sunchokes are looking for homes. We are using these veggies to supply special events like the Indigenous Family Gathering at VanTech and to fill the food boxes for the South Van Neighbourhood House food hub. I’m also hustling a bit to get whatever bits and pieces I can into East Van Farm-to-table restaurants like Ugly Dumpling and Dachi Vancouver. If you’re a restaurant nearby and want to purchase veggies from us, get in touch with me!

Fresh Roots’ Field Lead, Piper, has now finished their contract for the season. I am so grateful for the positive vibes and enthusiasm they contributed this season. What a gem of a human that I’m sad to see go. I’m sure they will continue to charm whatever workplace or schoolroom they enter. This also means it’s up to me, sometimes Galen, and hopefully volunteers to finish up winterizing the farm. There are a lot of plants to pull and plastic to cover our fields, so any help from any supporters or *ahem* readers would be cherished. I promise to give you kale!

Now that I’ve enjoyed my hot lunch and written about garlic (was that really all I did in October? Plant Garlic? Time flies), it’s back off to the fields to tear down some trellising and coil up drip lines from our irrigation system. I’m hoping I’ll get a good dose of Vit D with these sun rays. Stay cozy, friends. 

– Farmer Camille

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Farmer’s Log, Seed Date October 1, 2021

Welcome to the final month of operation for the 2021 Fresh Roots Farm Season. This month we are undertaking lots of soil TLC so we have a nice, healthy biome in the spring, ready for our seeds and transplants. The only thing we actually plant this late in the season is Garlic. This year we will be filling an entire block (that’s 10 x 45ft beds) with lots of juicy amendments then planting the whole area with Russian Red Garlic. We’ll top them off with foraged seaweed and 6 bales of hay so they have a nice store of nutrients dissolving into the soil all winter until they decide to sprout up in the spring. There are a few beds we will leave to overwinter – like kale, chard, chicory, and a few other brassicas – but the rest we will amend and cover with silage for a nice winter nap. 

October is pretty solidly booked with school field trips on the farm. I’m hoping the youth will witness our system of putting the beds to sleep as a meaningful learning. It’s not just about smothering everything with big sheets of black plastic – it’s about protecting our soil from leaching and weeds all winter long so that we have an easier time in the spring. 

This month also closes out our final markets – October 13th is the last CSA Pickup as well as Market at the Italian Cultural Centre and October 23th will be the final market with VFM at Riley Park. Once our markets are shut, we clear the fields of any veggies that are left and either sell direct to restaurants or donate to local food hub programs. Right now I’m working on a partnership with David Thompson Secondary for a student-led program called the “Free Store” to get our donated veggies into students’ homes over the holidays. Otherwise we try to get our veggies into the weekly boxes at South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, or the low-cost market at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House.

Most of our fruiting vegetables have completely died back. That means no more eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, or peppers. We have some straggling last beans which is kind of shocking to me, but they’ll only last another week or two before they rot in this fall rain. Our flowers are melting off their stems while broccoli and Gailan pump out their last straggling sideshoots so we can bundle them up as broccolini for our final CSA Veggie Box. The transformation of the farm from a beautiful, buzzing production zone into a state of decay is marvellous to me. It means it’s time to slow down and introspect – and it’s so healthy to take stock of what needs work. Looking forward to doing the same for my own damn self, especially in light of this new holiday commemorating one of the Calls to Action for Truth and Reconciliation. 

With production out of the way, Piper and I will be able to focus on winterizing and tidying up the farm. I am so excited to have a clean slate this spring and looking forward to some possible new toys like a rolling flame weeder and a fancy tiller – that’s what I’m asking the Fresh Roots’ Santa for this Christmas, anyway. Another big wish on my list is for more weekday volunteers in 2022 to help us tackle weeds on a weekly basis. With changes in our programming, our SOYL participants weren’t able to support us at our site at David Thompson. This meant the farmers who are dedicated to cultivation had to divide their time between maintenance and seeding; I bet you can guess which task got priority.

That’s pretty much October for Fresh Roots’ Farm team in a nutshell – looking forward to slowing down and taking stock in the months to come. Thanks for a wonderful summer season!

-Farmer Camille

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#SOYLyouth 2021 – Cady

by Cady Tong, SOYL Suwa’lkh Mentor

Being in the SOYL program was very new to me. You spend of your time outside either working on the farm or forest and any workshops we had we could relate back to experiences we had just had.

We plant a variety of things on the farm, often consumable but also beneficial towards our environment such as flowers for our bees or plants for filtration. 

We do a lot of cooking, leaning more into the vegan/vegetarian side which teaches us the importance of the food we eat while introducing us to new diets, which tie nicely into our food systems workshops.

We often gather in the forest next to Suwa’lkh which has a creek where we’ve learned the importance of our salmon to us and the Coquitlam people and of how the water systems affect us. 

At SOYL we get to create a really nice community where everyone feels welcome and we discuss the importance of safe spaces. It is unlike what I’m used to in my day to day life where such a close community is rare to come across.

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.