Summer has come to an end, the rains are returning (thank god), and time to reflect on what a great gardening season it has been. Our gardens thrived, again with the help of some wonderful kids. This past summer the Grandview Woodland Food Connection with generous funding from the Evergreen Foundation/Walmart ran a really wonderful program called Garden 2 Plate with a small group of mostly at-risk youth. The program ran down at the Le Chou Garden area in Woodland Park Community Garden, two blocks from Britannia School. The program was designed to have the kids work 2 hrs in the morning gardening and then 2 hrs in the afternoon with a chef preparing food, some of which was harvested from the garden.
The program turning out to be very successful and the preparing of really tasty food was a wonderful addition. The kids worked hard and then were treated to a healthy meal which they helped prepare. We’re really trying to make the connection between growing one’s own food and eating real food freshly grown and prepared and in the process making the experience of gardening pleasurable by connecting it to what kids really like….to eat tasty food.
The program lasted 8 sessions including 2 field trips to urban farming projects. Check out all Garden 2 Plate photos here
In these photos above the youth are introduced to the Le Chou Garden and the many plants that are grown. Le Chou was started in the summer of 2013 as an intergenerational garden. Youth and elders are both helping to take care of this garden. Currently WATARI Latin American Community Kitchen group and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center are growing food in this 500 sq ft garden area.
On our first day the kids planted veggies around the permitter of the community garden. These foods were planted as communal foods for all in the community to enjoy.
Here the kids are helping to prepare lunch with our trained chef. We ate really well including chicken fajitas, cedar plank broiled salmon, buffalo burgers, and tostadas.…. of course with lots of veggies.
Another project included creating a pollinator garden in which we prepared two pollinator plant gardens and then learned to make our own mason bee hives that we attached to the fence posts.
Here we visited Fresh Root’s school farm at van tech. This small school farm is one of two such farms in Vancouver. The food garden is growing on otherwise unused school property and is leased to Fresh Roots in return for providing both food and garden learning opportunities for students. On this visit our group got to experience food growing on a more productive scale.
On our second field trip we visited the UBC Farm Tu’wusht Garden project. This was a really fantastic trip for the kids simply because the farm is so beautiful and really feels like one is out of the city.
The Tu’wusht Garden project provides garden space for First Nations and others from the Downtown Eastside. Meals are a regular part of the program and the space provides much needed relaxation and nature for those folks involved in addition to very important cultural connections to traditional foods and to the land.
For all the kids it was their first visit to the farm and they were very impressed by what they saw so much so that a couple of the boys got a bit excited about the possibility of working and living on the farm. A highlight for sure was visiting the chickens.