Carya Farm to Future Program

The Cause

Carya plans to execute a new program, Farms to Futures, in our new Village Common’s community kitchen. Village Common, a partnership with the City of Calgary’s Housing Company, is a multi-generational community space located in the lower floors of a subsidized housing tower in the East Village.

Through Farms to Futures, youth will progress through multiple modules promoting ‘farm to table’ principles that are of increasing social importance when looking at the challenges of today including our environmental footprint, sustaining our economies and ensuring healthy food access in our community. Modules will be designed to introduce participants to healthy, affordable Canadian-grown ingredients, the farmers who make them available to us, and chefs who create nutritious and delicious meals, all while building confidence as they master a new life skill that they can replicate at home. As an added bonus, youth will be exposed to many food based businesses and learn of the related occupations as they consider their own futures.

Participants will be those already enrolled in Carya’s junior high and high school-based programs. Carya’s programs have proven impact in working with youth who are facing multiple risk factors that can be barriers to reaching their full potential. Working closely alongside youth and their peers, Carya programs develop self-awareness, techniques for building healthy relationships and skills for decision-making and healthy life choices. Youth learn how to cope effectively with challenges and leadership while growing their sense of social responsibility and citizenship. Farms to Futures will enhance Carya’s already well-rounded programs, providing confidence and competence in a whole new area.

Each Farms to Futures module will be different, most will include a cooking class and they’ll be able to bring dinner home to share with their families. Modules will include feature: Farm visit(s) with a focus on food origins and agri-career opportunities; food budgeting, trips to the local market(s) to access a versatile variety of local ingredients; food preparation and cooking skills as well as ingredient education in our kitchen; and creative components such as design your own recipe. The final module will feature an exciting cooking competition with invited guest. Our participants will pay forward their learnings, sharing their makings by serving up delicious meals with a group of local seniors.

Who Will it Benefit?

Youth participants will develop self-confidence and cooking skill competence while engaging in community. Their families will benefit as they will receive food access through the cooking programs as well as share in the learnings of accessing and preparing food to increase health and wellness. Families will also benefit with an additional set of hands to assist with, what for some, can be a daunting daily domestic duty.

Many of our senior clients experience food insecurity and poor nutrition on a regular basis. Village Commons is a multi-generational space that will be a gathering space, for the East Village community and beyond. The Farm to Futures program will grow, engage volunteers and span the generations thorough the simple act of cooking, volunteering and sharing a meal together. The ripple effect will not only be the sharing of a meal across generations, but the building of relationships across generations.

Farmers and the agriculture industry will benefit as more knowledge is spread about the benefits of supporting local business.

The community will benefit as our program gains traction, engages partners, corporations and individuals to grow and expand our programming and agency impact.