The Get Rooted Youth Program is a food literacy initiative that empowers youth ages 16 – 29 years old to become leaders of change within themselves and in the community. This program began in 2015 and mobilizes Richmond youth who are passionate about food security, social justice, and environmental sustainability,
Participants will be engaged throughout the year through
* educational opportunities
* volunteerism and
* innovative action projects.
Participants will develop an understanding of environmental issues and apply their knowledge in hands-on learning in the field of sustainable food systems. Participants will also select an action project and be mentored in executing their plan which brings about positive environmental results. Action projects can take the form of creating a social enterprise, developing digital tools and curriculum for public engagement or designing an innovative digital app.
This three-pronged approach will maximize learning and support participants to take ownership of their actions in the community. Returning participants will have an opportunity to mentor new cohorts the following year.
Youth Leaders are given access to expert-led, multidisciplinary workshops on various aspects of food security and social change. Sessions are led by university professors, food justice advocates, environmental specialists, seed-saving activists, local farmers, and seasoned professionals in the food security and community health sectors.
Aside from lectures, workshops also include discussions, group activities, brainstorming of tangible personal actions, and other interactive components pertaining to each topic. Youth are able to practice public speaking and networking with guest facilitators for further mentorship.
Workshop topics in the past have included:
Both issues and interventions for food insecurity are community-based, therefore we offer Youth Leaders many volunteer opportunities with various organizations in the Richmond community. In 2016 and 2017, Get Rooted youth donated 408+ volunteer hours to six agencies fighting food insecurity in Richmond, including the Richmond Food Bank, Gilmore Community Meals, Terra Nova Nature School, Sharing Farm, RFSS’ own Stir It Up Youth Community Kitchen and fruit recovery programs, and more.
Youth Leaders are supported to take tangible action to combat food insecurity. Collaborating in small groups, Youth Leaders identify specific areas needing intervention, create an action plan, and take initiative to improve food security status. Youth are given resources and guidance to tackle tasks at hand; it’s often a steep learning curve, but students achieve tremendous growth in employable skills and confidence contributing to community-based solutions.
In 2016, Get Rooted Youth Leaders authored a photo-blog series “Stories in Your Stew“, designed and piloted the Richmond Bike to Farm Tour, saved seeds, raise public awareness for food security through the Get Rooted Symposium.
In 2017, Youth Leaders conducted needs assessment through surveying 150+ individuals for the Richmond Bike to Farm Tour Feasibility Study, designed 10 Richmond Eats Farm to Fork Recipe Greeting Cards in honour of Canada 150, and crafted the Seed Matching Game Model – an interactive, educational resource to teach seed literacy to the community.
What Youth Leaders Said
“Being a part of the Get Rooted team has been a wonderful and educational experience. I enjoyed meeting like-minded youth and taking part in activities, workshops, and volunteer opportunities. Thank you so much for allowing us youth the chance to learn about our community and local food systems!” – Jamie, Get Rooted 2017
“Get Rooted inspires me to be more active in the social component of food. I never really supported local farmers or learned about food security [before]. Through Get Rooted, I have become interested, inspired, and knowledgeable in issues and concepts on food security. This was such an inspiring experience! I can’t think of a better way to spend my summer than being a part of the Get Rooted program” – Christian, 20, Get Rooted 2017
*Names have been changed for anonymity.