Food literacy


Food Forward Community Leader Award: Sue Sachs

As Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said, "you are going to love Nutri Sue! She is a spectacular Locavore + Foodie who runs kids' workshops at Leslieville Market."

She volunteers there every Sunday since it opened last year and her passion and commitment to getting kids to appreciate and recognize real, good food is truly inspirational!

She connects the local to the global in her interactions with the younger and older generations, talking about how eating local is inextricably linked to the health of our selves, our families, communities, and the planet.

But for her, the most important is in the tasting! She does not let anyone leave her table before they try whatever food is being featured in its wonderfully-raw, nutrient-dense state! She has become a hallmark of the Leslieville Farmers' Market, where kids and parents alike come to learn, taste, and be inspired to think global and delight in the incomparable deliciousness of local!

Congratulations and thank you to Sue for her good work for the community.

Learn more about Sue's Nutritional Consulting and about the Leslieville Farmers' Market.


Imagine a garden in every school

Green Thumbs Growing Kids hosted an event June 19th to launch their new provincial campaign, Imagine a Garden in Every School. The campaign aims to create broader community support and unite engaged communities for school food gardens “to share resources, ideas and experience, to work together on advocacy, and to make it easier for people across Ontario to start and maintain school food gardens.”

Dr. Bondar speaks to the crowd - by Orla Hegarty

The event itself featured Dr. Roberta Bondar as the keynote speaker. Dr. Bondar engaged the entire student population of Rose Avenue Public School at an assembly by telling jokes and making the connection between her career as the first neurologist in space and her scientific research into the importance of environmental stewardship. The event was attended by Minister of Education, Hon. Laurel Broten and by members of Manulife Financial who pledged $10 000 to creating school gardens. Food Forward, a supporter of this campaign, also had a number of members in attendance.

The assembly was followed by a colloquium featuring speakers from a variety of sectors in the broader food community, including David Crichton (Principal, Rose Avenue Public School), Richard Christie (Senior Manager, Sustainability Office, Toronto District School Board), Sunday Harrison (Director and Founder, Green Thumbs Growing Kids), Meredith Hayes (Schools Program and Student Nutrition Senior Manager, FoodShare), Susan Turner (Community Mission Specialist, Heart and Stroke Foundation), Dr. Roberta Bondar (The Roberta Bondar Foundation), Sarah Vogelzang (Nutrition Promotion Consultant, Toronto Public Health), and Ravenna Nuaimy-Barker (Director, Sustain Ontario).

Each speaker, in their own way, touched on the importance of active learning outside of the classroom and in teaching children about where their food comes from and how to grow it. They stressed that garden programming in schools is the best way to educate about healthy foods, which all children have the right to. In moving forward Dr. Bondar highlighted a report by the Working Group on Environmental Education of which she is a part, entitled, Shaping Our Schools, Shaping Our Future. The report is a key policy tool to help incorporate garden programming in Ontario schools. Ravenna Nuaimy-Barker highlighted work being done by the Children and Youth Food Network as part of an initiative of a group of organizations, including Sustain Ontario and FoodShare, providing moral support and inspiration and as a way to connect, share, and move forward. We should continue to support these two mechanisms towards creating gardens in schools across Ontario.

Educational school garden at the Winchester Street School - by Orla Hegarty

The event really highlighted all of the incredible work being done by Green Thumbs Growing Kids and the support that can be generated within the schools, the surrounding communities, and the broader good food community. There were certainly teachers and principals present at this event who were inspired by the stories they heard and who would love to help facilitate the expansion of this type of programming, not only in Toronto but across Ontario as well. Community support is instrumental in the creation and maintenance of school gardens. If you are interested in supporting this campaign find out if there is a school garden in your neighbourhood that you can help to support!

The excitement displayed by the Rose Avenue P.S. EcoTeam and the student Garden Researchers group was contagious and they were able to prove that children will take great pride in their garden if those resources are made available to them. With the support that Green Thumbs is receiving from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and all of these supporting organizations, the goal of this campaign will hopefully be realized!

Visit for more information on Green Thumbs Growing Kids and their campaign.

Jessica Reeve is presently working as the Ward Organizing Coordinator for Food Forward


A garden in every school

Toronto food literacy leader Green Thumbs Growing Kids has their downtown school garden profiled with CTV's Marc Cullen.

Our friend Sunday Harrison's guest blog on the site includes a vision for school gardens:

I'm a long-time fan of Mark Cullen and his no-nonsense approach to getting everyone comfortable with gardening. He's a great supporter of organic and children's gardens, so it was a huge honour to host him at the Winchester School Community Garden, where I've been gardening for 10 years with students from kindergarten to Grade 8. Our not-for-profit, charitable organization Green Thumbs Growing Kids was created and developed through our relationship to this school, using the unusually large garden for summer programs. Our mission is to help children and youth grow and eat their own healthy foods -- and to work with teachers to tie it all into curriculum in science, language, math, art and the environment.

Read more and see Marc's interviews with the kids: