Summer Wild Minds brought together 14 awesome youth in a fun and engaging summer youth gardening program to explore, learn, play, and work in the beautiful Strathcona and Cottonwood Community garden in Vancouver’s Strathcona inner city neighbourhood.
A key program focus was supporting youth immersion and connection with urban wilderness.
Many of the youth who participated attend nearby Britannia Secondary School. They represented a variety of cultural backgrounds. Some were newcomers to Canada. Most were from lower income households and face barriers due to colonization and racial discrimination.
The opportunities to learn in the gardens were varied and unique, keeping the youth engaged and interested. The youth showed alot of interest in the 4.5 acre gardens which include orchards, bee hives, community gardens, pond areas, animal habitat, food forests, herb gardens, and existing wild areas. The beauty of these gardens provided the youth a wonderful immersion in urban wildness
As one youth commented “I actually frequent this garden often being able to come back to nature and learn about the space that I love was a very amazing experience. I have noticed that I feel more at peace. Spending so much time in the garden has made my behavior alot less self destructive. In a way, it has given me time to live with a clear mind and has lifted weights off my shoulder”.
Wild Minds emerged in 2016 as a program collaboration between the Grandview Woodland Food Connection and the Environmental Youth Alliance.