Looking to Volunteer? Join Our Big Help on April 16th!

IN TWO WEEKS! We’re urgently looking for volunteers to help us kick off the growing season in our first Big Help volunteer party of 2024:

Date: Tuesday, April 16th

Drop-in Times: 4-6pm

Location: David Thompson schoolyard farm

(1755 East 55th Ave – at the intersection of 55th Ave and Argle St)

More upcoming Big Help dates & general info on our website:

We need a minimum of 3 sign ups, so invite your friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers to work together with other community members to support kids and youth on schoolyard farms!


Suwa’lkh means ‘New Beginnings’ in the Hul’qumi’num language

by Jaimie Rosenwirth, Suwa’lkh Environmental Education Program Lead

My name is Jaimie and I am the Suwa’lkh Environmental Education Program Lead. I have been volunteering with Fresh Roots since 2018 with an individual with autism. We both currently still volunteer up to 3 times a week. I have been working with Fresh Roots since the Fall of 2020. I have spent a lot of time working with the Leadership program through Suwa’lkh school, running the market, preparing salad for lunch, helping out with the SOYL Summer Program as well as Summer Camp. As well as growing fruits and vegetables, I love telling the students that radishes are my favourite vegetable that we grow. If they are really spicy then I need to eat them with a carrot to sweeten them up a bit. I like hearing what their favourites are as well and finding out the reasoning behind it. My camp name was given to me this past summer (2021) by a young camper, and it is Wildlife. 

The Space

Suwa’lkh is a very unique Fresh Roots location, having a garden – Suwa’lkh Medicine Garden, an orchard and The Healing Forest to work in. The students, teachers, and Smokey (a dog), at the school, enjoy eating fruit and vegetables from the garden and the orchard throughout the year. The teachers, youth and program goers have access to an outdoor classroom located in the forest. During summer programs this space provides quiet from the street near us as well as shade during the heat waves for children and youth to learn.

Smokey the Dog

Smokey is the PADS dog (Pacific Assistance Service Dogs) at school. He is a therapy dog that supports the students. When they are feeling anxious or emotional he goes to them right away. He is a sucker for carrots, especially if they are fresh from the garden. In the off-season when we don’t have any carrots he will settle for either an apple or a store carrot.

Healing Forest and Salmon Stream

Students get to take calming walks through the Healing Forest for a break. Getting to hear all the sounds of nature, birds chirping, water flowing through the stream, the wind blowing through the trees. Going for a walk through the forest is one of my favourite things to do when I just need to take a break from a task or to refocus. While in the forest during the fall, it is great to look in the stream and see if there are any salmon spawning. I myself have not been lucky enough to see any. I hope that one day I will be able to. 

Native Plants

We also have a native plant nursery. We have plants that are native to our area and they thrive in this environment. We hope to introduce them back into the community. We use the native plants from the nursery to reintroduce them to our forest. We have put thimbleberry, Sitka spruce and dune willow in places where we have removed invasives. We also use them as part of our programming. The students get to transplant native plants to areas where they have removed invasive species. We have been giving them to classes from field trips to take back to their school to plant in their gardens. We have the native plants available for purchase on our website as well as at our weekly market. 


We have a weekly market on-site every Thursday starting mid-May through to mid-October. It is located at Suwa’lkh school, 1432 Brunette Avenue. We have large orange flags leading up to the parking lot. We get help from the students to harvest the vegetables as well as set up the market stand each week. During the summer months, we have help from the SOYL youth, they come from many different schools in and around Coquitlam. The SOYL youth will help with harvesting, market set up as well as running the market. Each week a different crew of 4-5 youth is assigned to be at the market. Being at the market is one of their favourite things. Especially being the cashier. 


We have dedicated volunteers on site. They help with general farm maintenance and tasks such as weeding, seeding, transplanting, uppotting and harvesting. Our volunteers come weekly to work on tasks at times. Our volunteers live in the area and have seen the progress of the garden through the years. They love what we are doing and enjoy helping out when they can.

If you would like to volunteer, email!

CSA Veggie Box Pilot

We will be trying out a CSA veggie box program this year with 7 spaces available. Keep an eye out for more information. 


South Vancouver Harvest Fest 2021

Join South Vancouver Neighbourhood House and Fresh Roots for our Annual Harvest Fest featuring arts and crafts, grilled cheese sandwiches, harvest soup, games, prizes, and more!

When: Saturday, October 30th, 11 AM – 2 PM

Where: David Thompson Secondary School, 1755 E 55th Ave, Vancouver

What: Arts and crafts, farm tours, grilled cheese sandwiches, harvest soup, games, prizes and more!

All ages are welcome to this FREE event!

Rain or shine! Dress for the weather.

*compliance with COVID 19 protocols is required of all attendees and staff


We’re actively looking for volunteers for the event. If you are interested, sign up through this form.


Scout List Vol. 571 | Scout Magazine- Help

Scout List Vol. 571

By Michelle Sproule | October 15th, 2020

HELP | Like the idea of mucking about outside on a schoolyard farm? Fresh Roots schoolyard market farm is looking for volunteers to help with a variety of farm tasks including weeding, moving compost, and spreading wood chips to help protect gardens for the winter. A little fresh air, some elbow grease, and a dose of community spirit — sounds like a good way to get grounded! There are three volunteer workdays this month. In order to manage numbers to meet with social distancing protocols, volunteers are asked to register in advance. You can do that here.


October Farm Volunteer Sessions-Just Announced! ?

Are you itching to spend some time outside on a schoolyard farm? We are here to help! We are excited to welcome the return of volunteer sessions! Join us at the Fresh Roots schoolyard market farm at Vancouver Technical Secondary to help us with a variety of farm tasks including weeding, moving compost, or woodchips which will help us put the farm to bed for the winter! We’ve missed having folks from the community on the farm and

Join us for one of (or all!) three sessions in October!
Register here:

Friday, October 16th, 10-12:00 pm

Thursday, October 22nd, 10-12:00 pm

Thursday, October 30th, 10-12:00 pm- FULL

Please note:

Sessions are limited to 10 participants, to allow for physical distancing. Sign up to reserve your spot. You cannot attend without pre-registering. Please DO NOT attend if you are feeling unwell, including if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, or difficulty breathing.

What to bring:
*Garden gloves (we will have some available but ask that participants bring their own if possible)
*Rainboots or other waterproof footwear
*Water bottle
*Personal snacks
*Warm clothing/layers

We’re really looking forward to seeing you and sharing the magic of fall on the farm!


COVID-19: Food educators, chefs pumping out thousands of meals for people in need

Randy Shore

There is no shortage of hungry people to feed in a city hobbled by the COVID-19 lockdown and that has spawned a massive network of people working for the common good.

LunchLAB launched last year to show kids how to grow and prepare food and by spring break more than 40 students had rotated through their cook’s training program, feeding 180 of their classmates twice a week.

So, when in-class instruction was suspended across B.C., the partners — Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society, Growing Chefs!, Vancouver school board, and Ono Vancouver chef TJ Conwi — quickly pivoted to provide meals to hundreds of families.

That’s more than 5,500 meals a week for families identified by the VSB’s youth and family workers, said Alexa Pitoulis, interim executive director of Fresh Roots.

“We weren’t sure what we would do going into spring break, but our brains started turning and we worked out a way to support the school board’s effort to feed families that would have been benefiting from school lunch programs,” she said.

The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-A-School program contributed $20,000 through the VSB to help scale-up the renamed LunchLAB: Chefs for Families.When Pitoulis reached out to Mario Micelli, executive director of the Italian Cultural Centre, for some kitchen space he did them one better, offering up the Centre’s spacious catering kitchen and the ballroom, where food is packaged for pickup and delivery.“We have a large commercial kitchen where people can work and maintain social distancing,” he said“We were already in a partnership with Fresh Roots supporting distribution of school-grown food for families to pick up and we love that because there is nothing more Italian than preparing way too much food and sharing it with family and friends,” said Micelli. “I can’t believe the huge number of volunteers that have come out to accomplish all this.”ICC chef Jackson Noah and his team are also working for the cause.Food suppliers Yen Bros. and Gordon Food Service have supplied pallet after pallet of surplus food to keep the operation flush with raw materials.“They way people have come together to help out vulnerable families has been incredibly satisfying for us to be a part of,” said Micelli.You can make tax-deductible donations to LunchLAB through Fresh Roots or Growing Chefs!The Italian Cultural Centre is supplying ready-to-eat meals to the Grandview-Woodland Food Connection and Britannia Community Centre for people living in isolation.Conwi is also operating a satellite kitchen generously offered by Pacific Restaurant Supply, where he had been cooking for displaced restaurant workers.

“PRS said yeah, you can keep cooking here and lent me the space,” he said. “So, we just started cooking for people, whoever needs it, in the Downtown Eastside and we just kept scaling up.”

That food is flowing out to the LunchLAB: Chefs for Families program, the Aboriginal Mother Centre, and the Carnegie Community Action Project, which recently received 300 pizzas and 200 tubs of macaroni and cheese.

The commercial kitchen at The Dirty Apron has been serving up 2,000 meals a week since the cooking school and deli were put on hiatus.

Chef David Robertson and many of his staff are donating their time to prepare free meals for seniors who cannot safely leave their homes, residents of SRO hotels and other vulnerable communities. They are working in collaboration with the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Community College and Whole Way House.

Robertson’s crew is also supplying meals to frontline workers at Vancouver General Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital through Feed the Frontline.

Salmon farmers Cermaq Canada, Grieg Seafood, Mowi Canada and Golden Eagle Aquaculture are donating 27,000 kilograms of salmon to food banks on Vancouver Island.

About 10,000 British Columbians depend on food banks and that demand is rising, according to Laura Lansink, executive director of Food Banks B.C.

“In some instances, numbers have already doubled and we’re seeing line ups grow longer, yet food donations are down. Some people who were donors are now food bank recipients,” she said. “It’s a very stressful situation for our food banks and we anticipate we will feel the repercussions of this for one or two years into the future.”