Growing Chefs! Ontario: New Greenhouse ProjectNew Greenhouse Project
Our new Growing Chefs! greenhouse is part of our Food Education Centre at The Grove at the Western Fair District.
We are so excited to officially announce the creation of our Growing Community Greenhouse! This is a project that has been years in the making and it is amazing to see it come to life. Our new Growing Chefs! greenhouse is part of our Food Education Centre at The Grove at the Western Fair District. We will use this greenhouse to engage children, youth and volunteers, in year-round, hands-on learning about our local food systems while growing fresh, organic produce for households in need.
The goals of our Growing Community Greenhouse Programs are threefold:
• To increase food security for families in need by providing bi-monthly fresh food boxes, distributed through existing partnerships that allow for dignified and accessible support.
• To provide thousands of students participating in our Food Education Programs a hands-on learning opportunity to understand how our local food systems work.
• To provide job-skills training and meaningful volunteer opportunities to youth and adults experiencing barriers to community engagement due to mental health, addiction and homelessness.
Community Food Box Program
Donate today to support even more families!
Through our Community Food Box Program, in partnership with the Ontario Student Nutrition Program South-West Region and the London Food Bank, we have been able to provide bi-monthly fresh food boxes to families facing food insecurity, many of them being newcomers who struggle to budget for fresh ingredients and live in neighbourhoods with poor access to fresh food. In Ontario, 13.3% of all households experience some level of food insecurity. Households with children under 18 years of age experience much higher rates of food insecurity.
We aim to reach even more families by increasing our production abilities in the greenhouse, while providing children, youth and volunteers even more opportunity to learn about food production from seed to salad. By donating to this project, you can “purchase” a pay-it-forward CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture) for a food insecure family to receive a fresh food box delivered to their home bi-monthly, at no cost to them.
Volunteers and Community Building
Providing job-skills training and meaningful volunteer opportunities to youth and adults
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the health of our volunteers and staff members in mind, we have greatly missed our dedicated volunteers these past two years. Our hope is that we can share volunteer opportunities with you soon, so we encourage you to check out our monthly newsletter for future opportunities to get involved.
By partnering with an organization that supports people experiencing homelessness in the community, we have been able to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities to folks who often face barriers to community engagement. We aim to expand this program to provide therapeutic gardening and community building to even more participants who face barriers to volunteer opportunities.
Living in an urban setting, agricultural training is often inaccessible to many youth, especially BIPOC youth and women who don’t see themselves reflected as leaders in the industry. Our Growing Community Greenhouse project will allow us to bring more job-skills training to local youth who are interested in pursuing careers in horticulture.
Please reach out to Ilana with any questions about these programs and how to get involved:
Grove Food Literacy Program
We are still currently recruiting 2022 – 23 sponsors and donors for our Food Education Projects
By integrating our new greenhouse into our school field trips and public programming, we are able to offer students and participants a more enriched learning experience. Our Food Literacy Programs have always been focused on connecting young people to our local and global food systems. Students are able to see how vegetables grow, prepare those same vegetables in the kitchen with our Chefs, eat a meal they helped prepare, and even learn about how worms turn their lunch leftovers into nutritious compost for the garden. During the warmer months we have been able to utilize our learning gardens to provide hands-on examples of how our food grows, but we were losing that integral, interactive learning tool during the winter.
With our heated greenhouse, we are now able to provide the full picture of our food systems, year-round. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to put our in-person School Field Trip programs on hold, but we have presented lessons virtually to elementary, high-school and university students. With continued support of this program, we will be able to bring our curriculum-linked, experiential lessons to even more participants once in-person school field trips return.