Would you like to learn how to grow fresh food and flowers for yourself and your community? Are you interested in exploring work in agriculture, ecosystem restoration, or farmers markets? Do you want to grow your skills in collaboration, communication, and entrepreneurship?
We are so excited to be piloting a new project at the Edible Garden Project this year, Rhizome: Youth Growing Mentorship! With the financial assistance of the Whole Cities Foundation, this year we are running a seasonal mentorship for 15-23 yr olds to learn the skills of growing food, flowers, and tending land together in North Vancouver.
Rhizome will provide a rich and engaging long term learning opportunity for older youth who may be interested in farming and food growing. We will be learning to plan, plant, maintain, and harvest crops together, while developing skills that will be useful beyond the mentorship program and into their own lives and future career goals. Participants will learn a variety of elements of farming such as crop planning, soil science, seed saving, companion planting, ecosystem stewardship, collective decision making, and small business skills. This will be a collaborative project between our Education Coordinator Becka, Program Assistant Hannah, and the young people to draw on their community and cultural knowledge, to facilitate decision making around what to grow, and how to sell or share their produce. Participants will also receive a certificate of completion and letters of reference, enabling them to continue the work of building healthy and sustainable local community food systems that promote access to fresh food.
Why the name Rhizome?
Rhizomes are root systems that grow horizontally with shoots appearing above ground in different places, all connected to one plant by underground pathways. This reflects both our use of multiple urban sites, and our commitment to fostering non-hierarchical collaborative and collective ways of working!
If you or someone you know is interested in taking part, please fill out our expression of interest form here. Intake will happen on a rolling basis until 30 June, 2023 or until we are at capacity which is 10 participants. If you have any questions, or want to chat before applying, please contact Becka at email@example.com
– Participants will receive personal garden tools such as gloves, kneeling pad, trowel, tool bag
– Our mentorship will take place over three sites; Loutet Farm, Silver Harbour (near Lonsdale & 22nd), and a residential site near Loutet Farm. Youth will have the opportunity to work both independently and collaboratively depending on their comfort level and needs, with full team check-ins weekly. Scheduling will happen with the guidance of Rhizome mentors, Becka & Hannah.
– Youth will be involved in as much of the decision making as possible (what to grow, pricing, scheduling, spending, etc) learning collective decision making with the support of mentors Becka & Hannah.
– Land based & growing skills: understanding soil, selecting plants and understanding their growing needs, crop management/rotation, harvesting, invasive vs native plants.
– Other skills: time management, communication, working in a team, financial management, entrepreneurial skills, interacting with public.
Our aim is that this mentoring project will become a recurring yearly program that will be embedded in the North Vancouver community. For this project our food growing site/s will be in the community, this will encourage further engagement in the full range of our programs. It will also spark conversations with community members about food access, and the positive environmental, emotional, and physical impact of local small scale food growing.
Growing food in urban centers has direct positive environmental impacts such as bolstering biodiversity, supporting pollinators and wildlife habitat, and reducing the urban heat island effect. Transforming urban areas into vibrant, edible spaces provides places for community members to gather, share knowledge, connect with the natural world, reduce stress, and make connections with their neighbours. While this is a program targeted at youth, it is our belief that intergenerational learning is deeply valuable, and by growing food in community we encourage learning and knowledge sharing between all ages.