In May of 2014, the Slow Food Perth County convivium launched a Youth Booth at their Slow Food Market. The idea behind the booth is to give practical experience in growing and marketing food that is local, free of synthetic pesticides and yummy to eat. The Youth Booth has been using Market fare for making breakfasts, raising money for 10,000 Gardens for Africa. Buying gardens in Africa is to encourage biodiversity and knowledge of good, clean and fair agricultural practices. In the heartland of Ontario, where agrobusiness is king, alternatives to that growing model are much needed in the ongoing education of the consumer. It occurred to the convivium that a Slow Food Youth Garden for this education is as important here as in Africa.
The Youth decided to raise funds for a garden in their hometown, to be located at Falstaff Family Centre, which houses the Ontario Early Years Centre, Middle School, the Multicultural Association, summer YMCA programs as well as our winter market and winter youth cooking series. We gave ourselves a budget of 900 euros, the cost of an African gardens. Which is not a lot in Canada, considering a south exposure hill was the land that was offered for the garden. The Youth consulted a landscape architect on the feasibility of using turf as a retaining wall. They asked some friends in the landscape business for advice and they ended creating a terraced garden and donated the excavation, retaining wall, all labour and triple mix!!!!
On Saturday May 28th the Youth of Stratford have been invited to plant the garden for its inaugural season! At Market, the Youth bought a second garden in Kenya, Africa with the African Institute at University of Western Ontario. For their next donation, they are turning their sights on First Nations issues and connecting youth with growing and cooking food that is good, clean and fair. Go Youth Go!