Our History

Growing Chefs! was founded by Merri Schwartz, a professional pastry chef in September 2006 in Vancouver B.C.

After having worked in fine dining restaurants for several years, Merri became frustrated with the lack of engagement she saw between chefs - armed with valuable knowledge about food sustainability, nutrition, and local agricultural systems--and the greater community.

She founded Growing Chefs! as a tool to connect those chefs and growers to local communities, using a fun, empowering, educational program to do so.

After getting involved with the program, restaurant manager Andrew Fleet began the pilot for the second chapter of Growing Chefs! in London Ontario.

Seeing the impact that Growing Chefs! was having in both Vancouver’s schools and restaurant communities, Andrew was inspired to bring the program to his home town.  The Growing Chefs! Ontario Classroom Gardening Project was launched in the spring of 2008 at Tecumseh Public School.

In 2011, Growing Chefs! Ontario received a grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation to expand the Classroom Gardening Project and launch three additional Food Education Programs in London and the surrounding area.

  The Clark Family Foundation
 Urban Harvest Landscape
zdybThe Wilson Family FoundationThe Joanne and Tom Cowan Fund
The William and Katharine Kostuk Family FundLove Alchemy Cornerstone
TillsonburgLFHSGoodlife Fitness