The Power of Youth

Tyee students sell sprouts, local eggs and carrots at today’s pocket market to fund their school’s garden!

Back in school and I’m reminded that youth leadership is the driving force behind many successful social and environmental movements today.

Today I’m writing from Tyee Elementary, where students are leading a pocket market sale for their parents and teachers. This is part of a garden education program that we are partnering on with Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Students learn about the importance of our local food system and work together to create products for the market sale. Proceeds fund Tyee’s garden, which is underway with raised beds in their schoolyard.

Kids ages 7 to 12 lined the market tables today, beaming with smiles and proudly selling their products to parents and teachers, all the while becoming young social entrepreneurs in a movement towards a more local food system. What’s on sale today? Food in a jar, mason bee hives, potato kits, seed bombs, seed sprout kits and more!

We are facilitating leadership training in anti-discrimination and anti-racism for citizenU, a city-funded program. Our crew enjoyed the sun this weekend during training!

These students have demonstrated that you can never be too young to make positive change, or even lead a movement! All over the country, youth are turning their passion for local food into action, working with their communities to create more localized food systems. This isn’t just a movement; it’s a way of life!

I am sincerely inspired whenever I hear about a new initiative or read about a fellow young urban farmer in the newspaper. Emi Do (Yummy Yards), an urban farmer about my age, was recently featured in a front page article in the Vancouver Sun describing a push towards policy changes favorable to urban agriculture. Just yesterday, I stumbled upon an article about two young Americans filming a documentary about urban farms across the United States. And today, just a few minutes ago, I received a notice from an Environmental Youth Alliance coordinator regarding a group of teenage youth (GrassRoutes) who are cycling across Canada over the summer to empower thousands of youth about environmental leadership.

And The World In A Garden? Among other things, we’re partnering with citizenU, a city-funded program that provides high school aged youth with leadership training in anti-discrimination and anti-racism so that we can celebrate diversity and build more resilient communities in this beautiful city!

All across the world, the local food movement has taken root. Its popularity AND success are on the rise. Farm to Cafeteria programs in schools, youth-run gardens, young urban farmers, social entrepreneurs in the making, young filmmakers and more! So can young people change the world? You bet they can- they already are!

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