Building healthier communitiesDec 18, 2019
Digging up teachable moments in the garden.
Youth in the Peel region are getting the chance to become citizen scientists this summer, thanks to an innovative program offered by Ecosource Mississauga.
It’s called #PlugInToGrow, and it’s supported by a $20,000 grant from the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation. This funding allows participants, ages 14 to 25, to be part of the Young Urban Growers group.
There are currently 75 participants engaged in the program, which began in January and runs the full calendar year, wrapping up in December.
The program connects young people with green spaces in urban environments. Along with learning gardening techniques, the participants are taught about sustainable and biologically diverse communities and native plants and habitats for insects and animals in the city.
But, not all of the work is being done in the 15,000 square foot teaching garden in the heart of Mississauga. In fact, a big portion of the project is taking what the participants have learned on the ground and sharing it with others.
Ecosource Urban Agriculture Coordinator Rav Singh says that they are able to share this knowledge through a series of 12 environmental and urban-agriculture focused podcast episodes.
“We are creating a space for the community to come together and learn about urban agriculture,’” Rav explains.
“They are helping to bring awareness to the edible plants (winter greens, low bush blueberry plants and plum trees) that we have available in the Peel Region.
The beauty of the garden and its harvest are then brought to life through the stories shared by the aspiring journalists. The podcast covers a wide range of topics, from making vegan sushi to the impacts of single-use plastics on the environment.
“We get to come up with the themes and help with the editing and logo design,” 15-year-old podcast co-host Britney Vu explains. “I am hoping that by creating my episode we’ll be able to show youth how a couple of simple changes can really make a difference.”