May 3, 2012
Toronto students gather at EBW for the Youth Food Summit
Toronto, ON – May 3, 2012 – Youth from across Toronto gathered at Evergreen Brick Works to experience first-hand the interconnection between food and the environment at the first Youth Food Summit. The summit is a project of Students of Toronto for Environmental Progress (STEP), with funding support from the HSBC–Evergreen Youth Action Series.
The student-led summit was opened with a keynote address by Laura Reinsborough of Not Far From the Tree, who led a thought-provoking discussion about who grows our food and where it comes from. “The goal of the summit is to educate students about the challenges that exist in today’s food system, empower them to make informed choices about the food they eat and make changes in their schools and communities,” said Laura Freel, youth summit coordinator for STEP.
Hands-on training workshops for the students included how to identify healthy soils, understand the basics of composting, build their own food gardens and cook with their freshly-grown ingredients. A workshop on the politics of food systems showed them ways to help spread the message of sustainable food habits to the people around them and make a change in their communities.
“It’s inspiring to work with urban youth who take the initiative to learn together where their food comes from, especially while celebrating the cultural nuances cities such as Toronto enjoy,” explains Aimee Carson, community development manager, Evergreen. “The energy, enthusiasm and community pride from STEP and the youth at the summit is infectious.”
“It’s important to stay connected to nature, especially in our cities,” said Jacques Fleurant, chief financial officer, Global Banking and Markets and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank Canada. “Our support of initiatives such as this summit through the HSBC–Evergreen Youth Action Series allows urban youth to better understand the link between themselves and the natural world.”
In Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, some 200–250 high-needs and at-risk youth will experience nature first-hand through workshops and plantings, learning everything from urban agriculture to water conservation through the HSBC–Evergreen Youth Action Series. The series is now in its second year.
“Research and our experience shows that education through connecting with nature builds healthy and confident young minds,” explained Geoff Cape, executive director of Evergreen.
Evergreen is a national not-for-profit organization that makes cities more livable. By deepening the connection between people and nature, and empowering Canadians to take a hands-on approach to their urban environments, Evergreen is improving the health of our cities—now and for the future. In 2012, Evergreen with the support of its various donors and sponsors will be giving out more than $905,000 in grants to community and school greening projects. For more information please visit www.evergreen.ca
HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, is the leading international bank in Canada. With around 7,200 offices in over 80 countries and territories and assets of US$2,556 billion at 31 December 2011, the HSBC Group is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.
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