With summer in full swing, you might be wondering what things youth can do to not only have fun, but learn something and contribute to their community? That is where the Youth Food Action Team comes in.
The Capital Region Food and Agricultural Initiatives Roundtable supports the Youth Food Action Team. We believe young people have a tremendous potential to make positive change. Not only are they leaders of tomorrow, they can be leaders today. Through the consultation on the Saanich Youth Strategy, youth identified that working on food projects is a high priority, and they are looking for ways to get involved. Well the good news is, there are lots of opportunities.
The Youth Food Action Team gives passionate young people the opportunity to participate in hands-on projects and share both food issues and solutions with others. Over the past six months they have been up to a lot of good. They have published a video of their experience cooking a community meal at the Shelbourne Community Kitchen, and put their hands to urban farming with City Harvest Co-op, served meals at the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group Family Dinner, and toured the PEPÁKEN HÁUTW native plant nursery and garden. They also did workshops on DIY (do it yourself) gardening and learned about women in farming.
To spread engagement and provide inspiration to other young people who want to participate in food action, the Youth Food Action Team created an extensive inventory of ways in which young people can get involved in food initiatives in the region. You can find all this and more at www.crfair.ca, on Facebook, and Instagram @CRD_YFAT.
The YFAT will be busy over the summer and early fall making more videos and stepping into a role as animators. The North Saanich Flavour Trails is coming up Aug. 19-21 and the team will be out on the trail helping at the various farms. There is also a camp hosted by Project Respect from Aug. 17-19, for ages 12-21. This youth-led camp will involve learning from indigenous and non-indigenous teachers about different aspects of local food systems and how food is used as medicine by local First Nations. The registration deadline is Aug. 7, registration contact is 250-383-5545 ext.109 or email email@example.com.
Bike2Farms is another summer project that CRFAIR is promoting with the CRD. Youth will practise active transportation while learning about rural and urban agriculture, understanding the food system, and seeing where their food is grown. These are just a few opportunities for youth so if you or someone you know is interested in joining in, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Another important role for the Youth Food Action Team is to bring the voice of youth into planning and decision-making processes in our region. CRFAIR’s mission is to promote healthy and sustainable food systems and we are working towards this through a collective impact approach. Collective impact is more than just the flavour of the day – it is, in the words of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “a commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific problem.” These ‘actors’ can be organizations, individuals or institutions, so long as they are all working together on a common goal. The more voices, the more effective the movement is. CRFAIR sees the inclusion of youth voices and action as key to achieving greater food sustainability in the region.
Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at email@example.com.