Fresh From Scratch- How to Grow and Prepare Fresh and Healthy Foods
Organization Sponsor: Boys and Girls Club of Yukon
Organization Partner: Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research
The Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse (BGCW) is a charitable organization that works with ‘at-risk youth’. BGCW developed a ‘From Fresh From Scratch’ program. The program targets children and youth and builds capacity for them to grow and prepare fresh and healthy foods. The meal planning assures that each meal is both fun and healthy.
The program was developed when staff noticed youth at the centre drinking an energy drink or eating a bag of chips for dinner. BGCW recognized the importance of teaching young people exactly what they put into their bodies. The staff has challenged youth to bring in something they buy at the store and the staff will teach them to make it from scratch. BGCW maintains that the from scratch version will be cheaper, healthier and tastier.
Last year, BGCW installed two raised garden beds to grow foods and support this program. This year, BGCW built three outdoor vertical gardens. If the vertical gardens are successful this year, they will expand to 12 next year. The BGCW also is connected to seven other youth clubs across Canada and uses social media and webinars to train them on implementing similar programs. You can learn to grow ‘trash can potatoes’ on their Facebook page.
Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse,
BGCW not only supports the local food knowledge, but builds on it and shares it across Canada. BGCW is investing in our future by developing skills in youth in healthy eating, growing and food preparation. They are also training staff and building a sustainable program that will continue to make a difference.
The long term goals for this program are to build and maintain an indoor greenhouse so that fresh vegetables are available all year and to raise chickens in-house for eggs and meat if the City of Whitehorse bylaw changes to allow it.
This program brings to life the recommendation made in Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada, to “support the emergence and mobilization of local knowledge related to food production and preparation”
There are many people and organizations that are working towards food security in the Yukon.
The key elements of the Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada
food is eaten as close to possible as where it is produced,
food providers are supported in a widespread shift to ecological production,
poverty is reduced on a federal level so that Canadians can afford healthy foods,
a national children and food policy is developed and
the public, especially those who are marginalized, are involved in decisions that affect the food system.
Living a healthy lifestyle includes having ready access to nutritious and healthy foods. Living in the North, Yukon residents can face several barriers to food security. These barriers can include: no grocery store in the community, high cost of fresh foods, lack of food preparation or gardening skills, cost of locally produced foods, or minimal space ideal for growing and farming.
The BGCW ‘From Fresh From Scratch Program’ overcomes the barrier of cost of fresh and healthy foods by providing them for free to children and youth. Through their vertical garden beds, they overcome the barrier of minimal ideal growing space.