Focusing on Youth at Roots to Harvest
Over the past six weeks, eleven Lakehead Public Schools secondary students have had the opportunity to learn about agriculture, earn money and more importantly, earn credits at the same time. The students participated in a unique 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.
“The Roots to Harvest–Lakehead Public Schools FOY Program, provided an opportunity for students 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 framing as methods to work with youth. Throughout the duration of the program this summer, the students worked on their employability skills, confidence and sense of purpose in the community. A majority of the time is spent at the Algoma Street Roots to Harvest Garden site tending, weeding, building and harvesting. 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.
“Partnering with Lakehead Public Schools to employ the participating students this summer has been an incredible opportunity for everyone,” says Erin Beagle, Executive Director of 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 proud of their efforts and commitment to the program.”