Focusing on Youth at Roots to Harvest

Innovative program helps students earn $ and credits

For the next six weeks, twelve Lakehead Public Schools secondary students will have the opportunity to learn about agriculture, earn money and more importantly, earn credits at the same time. The students are participating in a Lakehead Public Schools and Roots to Harvest program funded by a Ministry of Education Focus on Youth (FOY) Grant. Participating students were identified by teachers to apply for the program. This is the second year for the program.

“Students participating in this program have the unique opportunity to build healthy relationships, improve self – confidence and to develop skills that are necessary to be successful in school and at work,” says Jane Lower, Student Success Leader, Lakehead Public Schools.

The FOY Program supports the Roots to Harvest premise of using food and farming as methods to work with youth. Throughout the duration of the program this summer, the students will work on their employability skills, confidence and sense of purpose in the community. A majority of the time is spent at the Volunteer Pool Roots to Harvest Garden site tending, weeding, harvesting and selling produce. On days the students are not at the garden, they work on small farms, helping local farmers and building their community networks, meeting new mentors and having an impact on the local food system including cooking a meal at the Dew Drop Inn and assisting with packing good food boxes.

“Partnering with Lakehead Public Schools to employ the participating students this summer is an amazing opportunity for everyone,” says Kim McGibbon, Program Coordinator at Roots to Harvest. “The students are gaining skills they will use the rest of their lives, becoming more connected to the community, and having a positive impact on the local food system. We are extremely excited to be working with an incredible group of youth again this summer.”