New youth farming program launched

New youth farming program launched

(L-R) Kemba Byam, Acting Manager City of Toronto – Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit, Aina-Nia Ayo’dele CEO & Principal of Aina-Nia
Learning Journey Inc, Zakiya Tafari Executive Director of Afri-Can FoodBasket, Floydeen Charles-Fridal – Executive Director – Caribbean
African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN), Anthony Perruzza- City Of Toronto Councillor – Humber River-Black Creek Matias de Dovitiis – TDSB Trustee – Ward 4, Humber River – Black Creek

Food for the North, a new youth farming program, was launched by the Afri-Can FoodBasket and the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit  (CABR) at the Ujamaa Learning Centre in Toronto on Saturday.

The program is designed “to empower Black youth through hands-on farming and gardening workshops that strengthen community ties and advance food sovereignty within Toronto’s African, Caribbean and Black Community,” says a news release from the Afri-Can FoodBasket.

It notes that Afri-Can FoodBasket’s partnership with the city will channel $100,000 in funding for the program and for the building of a 100 ft x 20 ft educational hoop house

(A hoop house is a type of greenhouse structure made from a series of arched hoops covered with plastic or fabric, used to extend the growing season and protect plants from harsh weather conditions.)

The hoop house will be used to try and extend the growing season of Jamaican Callaloo and other crops like salad greens, kale, and mustard.

As part of the program, Afri-Can FoodBasket plans to engage 100 youth in garden and farming workshops, including planting, cultivating, and harvesting calalloo, kale, garlic, and tomatoes. These workshops will take place on Saturday mornings from 10 am – 1 pm. Participants who complete two workshops will receive a cash honorarium.

The vegetables grown and harvested by the youth participants will be added to Afri-Can FoodBasket’s monthly food access hampers and made available at their Pop Up Food Pantries across the city.