I work as a School Garden Educator and Outdoor Educator in Toronto. I work at a few Toronto schools during the school year, and spend many of the school holidays in High Park with the Childrens’ Eco Programs there. The schools where I work all have their own food gardens (or are in the process of building one), so those are the focus of my work.

Fun Fair - Blake 2012 GardenThe Withrow Avenue Public School Food Garden had already been run ning for a few years by the time I started working there in the spring of 2010. The Blake Street Public School Food Garden was a patch of soil when I started working there in the spring of 2011, but is now a lovely garden. I started working at Dundas Street Public School and First Nations School of Toronto in the winter of 2014 (two schools in the same building). At this point, the shared garden was relatively early in the planning stages; by the end of April 2015 we had built a garden which is now growing nicely. I have most recently started working at Leslieville PS, which has a little garden already growing, but were looking for more programming in and connected to the garden. I also occasionally teach at other schools, as well as consulting some schools on starting their own gardens.

In High Park, I work with the City of Toronto Children’s Eco Programs, which I’ve been doing since 2010. I work mostly with the EcoCamp in the summer and during March Break, and the winter holiday programming. During the school year, we also run school field trips, birthday parties, and other group workshops (though I generally don’t work the school year programming there).

You’ll also find me at farmers’ markets – I often help out “my farmers” at Wychwood Market on Saturdays. “My farmers” are the farmers from Wooler Dale Farm, where I did a 6-month internship in 2009 – that’s where I gained the bulk of my gardening knowledge.  What an amazing experience!

I have learned a ton in the past five years as a garden educator and my confidence has grown in leaps and bounds. It’s a super rewarding job – I get to work outside with kids, and often see their “ahha moments” when they’re using things they’ve learned in class in a real-world hands-on setting. And seeing what new food they’re willing to try (and often enjoy) when they’ve grown, harvested and prepared it themselves is pretty great.

I use this blog to keep track of what’s going on in my various gardens, what lessons and activities I’ve been working on with the kids, and sharing other stories about local food and food education that get me excited. I also write about my other outdoor education adventures, which may not seem food-related, but in my mind they often are. My personal interest in local and sustainable food and gardening comes mostly from an environmental point of view, and I place a huge importance on getting kids outside and having them be ok with getting dirty. Though my main focus has become food and gardening, to me, gardening with kids is just one of many aspects of outdoor/environmental education. So while the focus of this blog will generally be food education, I hope you enjoy the occasional forays into other outdoor adventures!

Happy growing!


One response to this post.

  1. Cool gig you have my Estonian friend!
    -Danno O’Shea (Will’s drums)


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