Helen Stortini, Executive Director
Merri Schwartz, Chair, Board of Directors
Jaydeen Williams, Development & Communications Director
Amanda Adams, Program Manager
Growing Chefs! is registered Canadian Charity that educates children about healthy eating and healthy food systems. We aim to deliver programs that create a deeper connection between children and their food to teach them how their choices affect their HEALTH, COMMUNITY + ENVIRONMENT.
Established in 2005, we deliver programs in urban elementary schools across British Columbia, aimed to inspire children with the idea that they can grow their own food — even in a city. We focus on students in grades 1-7 who may not have access to fresh fruit and vegetables or green space at home. Using a collaborative approach involving local chefs, restaurants, and community volunteers, we provide the schools and children with materials and hands-on opportunities to grow and cook their own food.
Our core program is the Classroom Gardening + Cooking Program, and is led by a team of committed volunteer chefs to get our children excited about healthy eating. Over the course of three and a half months, chefs visit the classrooms every two weeks to assist students in planting + harvesting indoor vegetables. Using an innovative hands-on approach, our volunteers teach them how to cook healthy and delicious meals with what they harvest – and of course eat what we make! Throughout the term this program engages students in activities focusing on the benefits of NUTRITIONAL, LOCAL, + SUSTAINABLE urban agriculture.
As a registered charity, we rely on the support of generous donors to help us educate children about healthy eating and healthy food systems. We are also one of the only organizations that engage with a highly respected network of chefs willing to volunteer their time to provide innovative hands-on food learning in our classrooms. You can find out more about how to make a donation at www.growingchefs.ca/donate.
“It’s amazing how stoked you feel coming out of the classroom – feeling great about life.” – Chef Jonathan Chovancek, Homer Street Cafe & Bar and Tableau Bar Bistro
“They help build the community and next generation of potential chefs. Everyone eats, and it is fantastic to teach eating for more than just the sake of it.” – Chef April Hornecastle, Earnest Ice Cream
“In a world of increasingly packaged and processed food it’s vitally important to teach the next generation where exactly our food comes from.” – Bartender Jonathan Dennis, Forage
“They are proud to teach their parents how to eat healthy and grow or cook new foods. The parents will say they don’t have space to garden and the kids explain that you only need windowsill pots.” – Grade three school teacher