The Story of Food

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The story of modern food is full of worrisome detail.

Only two out of five kids eat the recommended amount of fresh vegetables and fruits daily. We’ve been lured by fast food because we thought our time was better used elsewhere. But it turns out that without spending time on gathering, growing and preparing food, our lives are not actually better at all. In fact, young people may die sooner than their parents, for the first time in modern history.

Children are growing up thinking that food comes from a plastic package in the supermarket, or worse, from a lab. Never acquiring a taste for fresh greens or tomatoes off the vine, we’re raising lifelong consumers of highly profitable junk foods.

To make food cheap and fast we are harming the environment. Our food systems went global on cheap fossil fuels – just when we need to be seeking and promoting alternatives, and learning to love what grows close to home. Learning to cook and preserve the harvest.

By introducing children to the real story of food, we can flip the script.

flipscriptLuckily, the food that we can grow close to home is exactly the food we need to be eating more of, for our health, and for the health of the planet we call home.

By helping schools grow their own gardens, Green Thumbs brings good food to children and adults alike, empowering them to participate in food production, and bringing biodiversity back into our food system.

At Green Thumbs, we share the true story of food: how all life springs from the soils and waters of the earth. We show what it takes to grow good food, and empower others to follow our example. We foster the skills and creativity needed to make healthy food taste great.

The language of gardening

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Bursting with biodiversity, gardens are a perfect space for exploring colour, texture and scent. Animal life abounds in miniature action-packed habitats. Trees, sky and weather provide a constantly changing backdrop to these outdoor classrooms, even in urban neighbourhoods.

Biodiversity makes ecosystems healthy and resilient. If one crop fails, there will be another. Seeds are selected over generations to match local climatic conditions. It’s all about relationships— a complex web of interactions between species.

For children to have hands-on learning experiences with plants and soil, bugs and worms, herbs and flowers, they need opportunities and mentors. The Green Thumbs model is to supply schools with expertise and support so that they can integrate garden-based learning into the curriculum. In summer, we mobilize the community to continue gardening on the school ground.

People learn by doing. Together we’re carrying out the simple, age-old tasks of preparing soil, planting seeds and cultivating our desired crops, and feeding a deep human need; it’s no accident that the root word for soil and soul are the same. In downtown Toronto, where many languages are spoken, the common language of food unites us, as a human right and a human delight.

See Benefits of a School Community Garden for more.

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