by Lauren Bernardi
Warm, Spring Solstice greetings!
It is a pleasure to be warmly welcomed to the Farm to School BC team. I am incredibly excited to begin animating school-farm-community connections within the diverse municipality of Surrey- a NEW Regional Hub within Farm to School BC’s scope!
I have been working with youth in different capacities for about 8 years, primarily in outdoor adventure and education. One of my passions is leading comfort-zone-exploring activities such as, canoeing, gardening, and leadership initiatives. It is incredibly rewarding to experience youth strengthen the bond with themselves, their peers and the environment through such activities. I can’t wait to see what we can explore with the school-aged youth of Surrey!
I am looking forward to working within such a large, agri- and culturally-diverse regional hub! Surrey is the second largest city in BC, with just over 500,000 inhabitants. The Surrey School District, number 36, oversees 121 Elementary and Secondary schools; that’s over 70,000 students! Furthermore, over one-third of the City’s landmass is designated for agriculture production under the protection of BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) program. There are many local food movements already in action within the Surrey and White Rock communities and we foresee so many positive connections and projects with Farm to School BC in the future!
This year, the Public Health Association of BC (PHABC) and Farm to School BC has rewarded 5 schools within the Surrey School District with a grant to expand their local food presence within their school. The projects range in variety from tower gardens, to local-farm sourced food for meal programs, to indoor gardens for cafeteria education. Currently, I’m working to familiarize, build and strengthen connections within the farm, school, public health and greater “foodie” communities in Surrey.
The most exciting part is that Spring is upon us! Early Spring buds are slowly poking out all over- has anyone noticed the brilliant purple crocuses, or smelled the sweet aroma of Indian Plum? Fun Fact: Young Indian Plum leaves, when eaten, taste like cucumber!
I believe that the more knowledge we share, the more empowered, connected and resilient we become as a growing community! So please do not hesitate to connect with me if you want to share ideas/knowledge, ask questions, or discuss food literacy projects within the Surrey region.