Growing good things

When I was researching What’s for Lunch? I was blown away by the amazing things kids around the world are doing to reclaim their school lunch. Boycotting the gross meals in their cafeterias, growing gardens, writing letters to their elected officials, and generally standing up for themselves, their health, social justice and their community.

It was inspiring and fun to learn about, and put the lie to claims that kids don’t care about what they eat or what’s happening to our food system. I continue to catalogue examples of children who are taking charge of the food they eat and grow. But the Hamilton Spectator story of Oliver Allen-Cillis (and his sister, Piper) has got to be one of the more incredible, mostly because the pair are only six and seven years old.

Photo by John Rennison from The Spec

Last summer, this industrious duo started growing veggies in their backyard and selling them at a front yard stand. But this wasn’t for their bubblegum fund. The money they raised went to youth charities, because Oliver had recently discovered that lots of kids don’t have the advantages he does. People in the neighbourhood loved it, and the family earned nearly $700 over the growing season to donate.

But the idea was too infectiously good to stay small, and the family collaborated with other local garden/enviro organizations, applied for and won a $20,000 grant from Nature’s Path Organic to spread the backyard garden idea.

The money will be used to help other families set up similar gardens, as well as establish a tool-share program, offer workshops to youth and adults, and support local high schools to grow organic seedlings. Now that’s inspiring.


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