Sun Youth is increasing the amount of fresh products in its food baskets.
Over the last few years, Sun Youth has undergone a slow but steady move towards increasing the amount of fresh products in its food baskets.
The Little TD Garden was the first garden Sun Youth developed. Located on the grounds of our summer camp in the Laurentiens, it is a vegetable garden created and maintained since 2012, thanks to the renewed support of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. A second garden was established at the organization’s St. Urbain street headquarters, in the 2013 summer, through the support of Sentier Urbain, allowing the Sun Youth Day Camp children to make their first steps in the fascinating world of urban agriculture.
In 2014, Sun Youth expanded its urban agriculture project by opening a third garden on the grounds of its warehouse located in Ville Saint-Laurent. The addition of the new garden was a huge success and the results were very conclusive. Foresters Financial has generously offered its help with the construction and consultation on running an effective program. In addition to products from the gardens, major donations came from McGill’s Macdonald Campus Farm, Fiddlehead and Supermarché PA du Parc, who have been very proud supporters of Sun Youth’s food bank with repeated donations of fresh food products. Sun Youth was also proud to participate in the harvesting of more than 30,000 biological vegetables grown on the Bois-de-la-Roche farmlands in Senneville under the “Cultiver l’Espoir” project. This program is a unique and innovative urban agriculture project, the largest of its kind in Canada. It was initiated by the Regroupement des Magasins-Partage de l’Île de Montréal in partnership with the City of Montreal. A social integration group in organic farming, D-3-Pierres, collaborated to this project while L’Œuvre Léger and the J.A. DeSève Foundation acted as financial partners. “Cultiver l’Espoir” was established to ensure a sustainable supply of vegetables to food security organizations in Montreal during peak periods of the winter. Along with Moisson Montréal, we distributed these vegetables to some 15,000 underprivileged Montreal families.
On May 21st, Sun Youth and Foresters Financial continued the growth of the garden with new additions including: a lettuce wall, a support structure for the gardeners to enjoy shade while working, the addition of grape vines, small fruit trees and asparagus. Foresters Financial provided all of these along with 500 vegetable plants and the help of more than 60 volunteers. The food produced will be distributed through Sun Youth’s food bank.
The integration of fresh vegetables and fruits into food hampers has been a goal of Sun Youth’s in recent years. So far, our willingness to distribute fresh produce to our clients is well received, since 50% of our clientele opted for fresh over non-perishable products when given the choice.