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#SOYLyouth 2021 – Austin

by Austin Webber, SOYL Vancouver Mentor

As a mentor in SOYL, I have witnessed so much growth in a short time of three weeks. Members and mentors of the program have grown so much in this packed three weeks of the program and will continue to learn and grow. In the beginning, members and mentors, including myself, were a bit shy and didn’t want to introduce themselves. But, by the end of the first day, everyone got more comfortable and talkative. As a team, we have gained knowledge about different plants, vegetables, nutrition, and cooking. Everyone in SOYL this year is working extremely hard and getting so much done, which is a huge contribution to making the farms successful.

After the first half of the program, I have gained so many new friendships by working with the crew members and mentors and getting to know them better. I have learned much more in my second year as a mentor. For example, there are tons of plants used for medicine like Nettle which can lower symptoms of allergies like hay fever. A field trip that really stood out was going to VanDusen Botanical Gardens to walk around and explore nature at its fullest. This field trip really stood out because I learned how plants live the same lives as humans – by growing, eating, reproducing, and moving just like humans. Not only is SOYL such an amazing opportunity, but it also flourishes to connect the community to learn, and grow.

Learn more about the SOYL program HERE.

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2020 Impact Report

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!

 

 

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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!