Capturing the hearts and minds of kids and teens is tricky business, but their stomachs are a good place to start.
Food ignites the senses and gathering in the kitchen, garden, or on the land offers the perfect place for young people to learn, make new friends, and grow their confidence at a critical stage of life.
Now in its fourth year, our Child and Youth Innovation Grants support forward-thinking, research-informed programs that use food as a way to build health in kids and teens. Recipients are drawn from our partner network of over 150 Good Food Organizations.
This year, five organizations received $25,000 to develop, implement, and share the learnings from their program.
Congratulations to Roots to Harvest (Thunder Bay, ON); Loving Spoonful (Kingston, ON); Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (Vancouver, BC); Sirivik (Inukjuak, QC), and FortWhyte Farms (Winnipeg, MB)!
We are excited to partner with this year’s grantees to see how their innovative programming will inspire young people to engage with food in a healthy way. Read more about each grantee and their project below.
Roots to Harvest
Roots to Harvest works in Thunder Bay’s schools, farms, and neighbourhoods to provide opportunities for young people to engage in the food system.
Roots to Harvest will be using these funds in their Forest Meets Farm series where young people in high school will explore locally-cultivated and wild-foraged foods and embark on a journey of food through all of their senses.
Loving Spoonful is a returning Child and Youth Innovation grantee. Their programming brings together youth from different backgrounds to learn new food skills and understand the food system.
With this year’s grant, they will be facilitating the program Take on the World. Young people will be exposed to new foods from around the world breaking down stereotypes.Then they will learn about local Indigenous culture and land-based food.
Take on the World
will conclude with “Iron Chef” competition where youth will use their skills, knowledge, and creativity to prepare a healthy meal.
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (MPNH) started in 1976 with a youth leadership program. This year MPNH will use their awarded funds for the HEAT Program: Healthy Eating and Attitudes for Teens
This program will engage low-income, racialized, Indigenous, immigrant, and refugee youth from 13 to 18 to build healthier relationships with food.
Youth will participate in cooking activities to build skills, learn about nutrition, and healthy eating and they engage and think critically about food, food systems, and food justice.
Sirivik is located in Inukjuak — a small village located on the Inuit territory of Nunavik, on Hudson Bay in northern Quebec. Sirivik brings the community together to focus on food insecurity, education, food literacy, and reintegrating socially excluded populations into the community.
They will use their funds, along with support from the Innalik School and Unaaq (Inukjuak Men’s Association), to bring young people out to embrace the traditional cycle of accessing and consuming food in a collective and community-based way.
FortWhyte Farms is an urban farm in Winnipeg, Manitoba that brings youth together to build confidence and leadership skills, provide employment training, and build resilience.
Building on an already established leadership program, FortWhyte Farms will use the grant to extend this program across the academic year.
Through the leadership program, young people will engage in four activities: culinary arts training, agriculture, food education training, and woodworking. In doing so they’ll gain independence, promote healthy food and lifestyle choices, and become leaders for their peers and the community.