Food Leadership for Youth
at The Stop Community Food Centre

The Stop offers a range of programs for children and youth that increase food skills; encourage positive attitudes about healthy eating; build knowledge about food systems, food issues, and food justice; and foster self-esteem and leadership capacity.

Grade 10 students Brandy and Janice joined FLY at the beginning of the school year and dug in right away. As their confidence in their cooking and gardening skills grew, they became strong leaders and role models for the rest of the group. They facilitated food demonstrations at their high school, taught their peers how to make dumplings, and led recipes for younger children. At the end of the year, they opened up and shared their personal experiences, helping other youth in the program better understand the connections between inequality and food insecurity.

Brandy and Janice remained involved with The Stop throughout the summer, became the program’s first paid summer interns, and helped out in Summer Camp programs. And they’re not stopping there! With a year under their belts, they’re even more excited about engaging more youth in food issues and skills-building work.

“[I’m] getting to meet more people, getting introduced to more foods, learning how to prepare foods.” Tiny Tastes participant
Tiny Tastes
at The Table Community Food Centre

It’s a perennial question: How do you get kids to eat their vegetables? The question takes on more pressing dimensions when the income you have doesn’t allow room for error, experimentation, or help. That’s why The Table developed the Tiny Tastes program. Tiny Tastes is a nutrition and food skills program for families on limited budgets, in which parents with pre-school–aged children come together for twelve weeks to engage with and explore the flavours of healthy foods. Parents gain cooking and food safety skills, and children can taste-test vegetables, read stories, and participate in activities that encourage curiosity and excitement for healthy eating. At the end of each session, Tiny Tastes participants come together over a shared meal.

CFCC staff are now working with Tiny Tastes’ facilitators to develop template materials so we can share the program with Community Food Centres across the country.

70%
of children surveyed reported having cooked a meal for their families at home since they joined the program
70%
of children surveyed reported having cooked a meal for their families at home since they joined the program
61%
of parents surveyed noticed that their children were more interested in wider community and food issues
98%
of parents surveyed reported that their children were more confident helping out in the kitchen
“[My daughter] is significantly more interested in food and meal preparation and frequently wants to join me in the kitchen.” parent at The Local CFC
Photo Credits (From the top down)
  1. Zoe Alexopoulos, courtesy of The Stop CFC.