Photo © Courtesy of Greenest City
Imagine the hustle and bustle of a kitchen… the noise, the jostling, the exuberant and joyful energy, the eager grabbing of fresh fruits and vegetables. Now imagine that these excitable chefs are children between the ages of 6 and 12, reading recipes, safely handling knives, hot pans on the stove, and pans in the oven. It all comes to a resounding finish when everyone, children and mentors alike, eagerly sit down to eat the meal together.
Thanks to Greenest City, these children and youth mentors are now ambassadors with foundational food skills. And it’s not just for kids!
Greenest City is a local, small but mighty not-for-profit, with food growing, connecting people to food, each other, nature, the earth and sustainability at heart. Greenest City works with over 4500 people of all ages each year, building healthy, inclusive neighbourhoods through education and empowerment to preserve, protect, and improve the environment.
From community gardening to programming centred around learning to grow and cook food, to community events like the seasonal Good Food Market and the Harvest Festival, Greenest City encourages climate action and healthy eating.
In youth programs like Growing the Future, children will learn about food from seed to table—starting seeds, planting and harvesting, food preparation, including food-handling skills, knife skills, and different cooking methods. They learn how to cook from scratch, using local ingredients, the importance of fruits and vegetables, and get to try new and healthy meals!
Growing the Future focuses on local, sustainable food growing, environmental stewardship, and learning to grow, cook, and eat healthy food in an educational and fun way! The program emphasizes learning about nutrition, instilling curiosity about food and caring for our earth in a way that lasts long after the session ends.
By the end of the 10-week Growing the Future program:
- 90% of the children requested healthy snacks from their parents.
- Every child listed a vegetable and fruit as a healthy food.
- Every child and their family had access to healthy food weekly.
- 75% of the children went home and cooked a healthy meal for their family.
The success of Greenest City’s past programs has shown the myriad of benefits from engaging youth in learning about ecological gardening, food security, and community leadership. In one case, a pair of youth were so enthralled by their new ability to grow their own food that they began sourcing seeds in the community and teaching friends how to grow in windowsills.
With rapid climate change impacting the most vulnerable people in our communities, we need tangible ways to take action in our own lives while building resilient neighbourhoods. Growing the Future connects children and youth to the earth and our food—building solid foundations for our future climate action leaders.
Greenest City is about sharing a love of food and our earth, forming a strong sense of community through informational and engaging programs for all ages.
The future is looking green! Learn more about Greenest City at GreenestCity.ca
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