The Sharing Farm is thrilled to be the recipient of of not one but two grants from the United Way. We’re doubly excited because the grants are for continuing two very special programs a The Farm that support helping two different vulnerable groups in our community.
The Family Food Skills program brings vulnerable families to The Farm for whole family activities designed to create positive stories around food. We want families to sit down for a healthy meal together and share good food experiences at the table.
With United Way’s support, who also funded the program last year, we’re able to continue to this special program at The Farm.
When the families come to The Farm, caregivers and children have separate programming tracks. The caregivers learn about seasonal vegetables and take cooking classes to make quick but healthy meals. Often we hear that many people will pass on a vegetable due to lack of knowledge for what it tastes like and how to prepare it. (A shared issue for many of us when in the produce section!)
While the parents are busy cooking, the children get a memorable experience with instructors from the Terra Nova Nature School. Kids have guided activities related to growing plants and exploring the park.
Before going home, the families come together for a shared meal. Each family also goes home with a basket of fresh veggies. The hope is that the positive messaging around fresh food goes home with them. As the families are eating together, kids will want to talk about how carrots grow and how much fun they had running around. Caregivers will know that they are serving healthy meals to their families. Maybe they even found new ways to creatively sneak in the kale!
The second grant provides an opportunity to reduce isolation and keep seniors active and engaged in the community. Seniors come out to The Farm each week for several hours of farm tasks that are mindful of aging backs. The seniors socialize over meaningful activities that benefit the community. In the process, friendships are formed, resources are shared, and spirits are lifted.
The seniors also keep The Farm staff busy! They will often get through tasks much faster than was planned. It’s a great way to change perceptions for for other who volunteer at The Farm alongside them.
This year the seniors are going to have some special time with the Terra Nova Nature Preschoolers. This intergenerational component of the grant will bring the youngest and the age-less together for seed planting and sharing.
We’re also hosting several corporate volunteer sessions this year for companies who have donated to the United Way. We’re honoured to demonstrate, first hand, the work we do towards our mandate for growing fresh food for families in need. Bringing people from the donor companies provides the physical connection. We can say, here’s what we do — now grab some gloves and a wheelbarrow!