Youth explore local food systems

Youth Food Conference Oct. 20 to 22 at Victoria’s White Eagle Polish Hall

By Linda Geggie

For the Saanich News

The foodie movement is thriving in Saanich, and something that is becoming clear is that youth are a growing segment of these folks who are passionate about food.

Over the past year a small but active group of youth have been heading out to local farms, leading bike tours of urban growing sites, and taking part in a whole range of activities that centre on the deliciousness of food.

This fall they want to reach out and ignite this fire in other youth. They have organized the Youth Food Conference, a whole weekend of activities that culminate in the launch of a brand new Youth Food Network.

“Imagine a way to connect youth passionate about food from across the CRD? The Youth Food Network aims to be the platform for individuals between the ages of 14-24 to collaborate, learn about, and explore good food and their local food systems” said Eden Murray, youth food action co-ordinator at CRFAIR.

She wanted me to let you know about the Youth Food Conference happening from Oct. 20 to 22. The conference is about engaging youth in their food systems, educating on good food, and offering resources to get involved in the food movement. Over 140 youth have signed up for this free event.

The conference starts Oct. 20 at the White Eagle Polish Hall for an evening of celebration and welcome. All attendees and volunteers will receive a wonderful local food dinner, as well as a glass of kombucha.

Eden is excited about the program.“We are really grateful to have Seliliya, Belinda Claxton and Hannah Roessler, speaking on indigenous food systems and the correlation to reconciliation. We will also have a panel of youth, who will share their food story with us,” she said.

There is going to be live music and lots of even livelier conversation. The next day, all attendees will go with a group leader to different workshops around the city and to local farms, including Madrona Farm in Saanich.

Some workshops include composting, permaculture, coffee cupping, chocolate tasting, nutrition, how to start your own school garden and a lot more. In the middle of the day, everyone will receive a delicious packed lunch provided by Whole Foods Market.

The next day the youth will come back together at the Fernwood NRG to focus on collaboration, art and food-related activities. They will be talking about their plans for what they can do as a network to enjoy, experience, create and support activities for youth and community around good food.

Registration for the conference is full, however, if you are interested you can still get involved through volunteering. For inquiries on volunteering, email Jasmine at engagement@crfair.ca, or visit www.youthfoodnetwork.ca/volunteer-sign-up/.

Eden is also looking for food donations for the Sunday lunch and gifts for speakers. If you would like to help with this event, or want to learn more about the Youth Food Network, email Eden at youthcoordinator@crfair.ca.

Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@cfair.ca.

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