Message from Kary Atkinson
At the most recent meeting for the Board of Directors at Green Thumbs, I had the distinct honour of being elected board Chair. As a local resident I became involved with Green Thumbs because I wanted to put my time and skills to work in my own community and I’m so proud of the work being done by our organization. Environmental and food awareness for kids in dense urban neighbourhoods, cultivated green spaces, and being active contributors to the virtuous life cycle of community engagement in St. Jamestown-Cabbagetown-Regent Park are among the rewarding aspects of the work we’ve been doing for the past 20 years.
The prospect of stepping in as Chair of a small non-profit amid a global pandemic, which greatly impacts our ability to both fundraise and continue working directly with individuals, weighed on my mind in choosing to accept this new position. The road ahead for us will be filled with challenges and uncertainties, and as we witness the uprising of organic leadership from members of our community, I see the path ahead as an opportunity for us to grow in service.
The life skills, environmental awareness, and emotional supports that can be found in the garden remain as critical as ever. While the global pandemic has challenged our ability to bring kids into the gardens for learning this past school year, Green Thumbs staff have been able to pivot to offer online resources to parents and teachers to continue to foster healthy relationships with food and the environment. We’re grateful to have continued access to school gardens and have now hired 6 summer students to help care for the land and crops. Of the produce we grow, Green Thumbs is donating the output to food boxes and organizations that are urgently addressing food insecurity in our community.
As we move forward in an uncertain world, we remain optimistic that the outdoor learning environments provided by the Green Thumbs school gardens will be more important than ever as we put the health and safety of our staff, students and the community at the forefront of our work. Outdoor education is now newly appreciated as a learning environment and we have the experience to help communities, schools and kids adapt.
If you would like to help, consider becoming a one-time or recurring donor to help fund our resourcing, supplies and advocacy work. Visit our website (www.greenthumbsto.org) and social channels to take learnings, join the conversation and share.
Thank you for supporting us in this vital work in cultivating environmental stewardship as we foster healthy communities and learning gardens.
Board Chair, Green Thumbs Growing Kids