Reflections on GTGK’s Contributors’ Appreciation Evening—Or, Why Digging For Potatoes is Like Winnin
Reflections on GTGK’s Contributors’ Appreciation Evening—Or, Why Digging For Potatoes is Like Winning the Lottery
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Kristina Vidug, and I am one of the newest board members at GTGK. I am, I suppose, what you would call a ‘young professional’. Currently, I’m an analyst in the medical technology sector. I studied sociology at both the undergraduate and graduate level and have always felt a strong drive towards nurturing the local food movement—whether it’s through my own container gardening, or through encouraging food literacy. Joining the board at GTGK felt like a natural fit.
On November 20th, GTGK held a soirée to show our appreciation to all of the contributors that make GTGK what it is—whether it is the volunteers who dedicate innumerable hours to running the programs, or the generous funders who give us the monetary support we need to keep said programs running smoothly, or the students and interns who use their time at GTGK as an opportunity to put theory into practice.
The evening was held at CSI Regent Park. I was truly astounded at how quickly the space was turned from a functional meeting and kitchen space into a cozy and intimate candle-lit haven, adorned with burlap table runners and pea-shoot containers as centre pieces.
The evening gave us a truly unique opportunity to bring together the aforementioned folks, who are so invaluable to GTGK in their own unique ways, and who might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and mingle with one another. Robin Buyers, professor and board member extraordinaire, helped get the conversation flowing with her ingenuous ice-breaker activity that had us all connecting with unfamiliar faces in the room and ranking our top motivators for teaching children and youth to grow their own food. (The reasons were diverse and plentiful—but that’s a topic for another blog post.)
After enjoying a delectable meal together, we went on to hear from a number of students who’ve been involved with the Urban Roots Youth program. For me, it was the first time that I heard firsthand the impact that GTGK has had on the students’ lives. Their stories were candid, from the heart, and most importantly, spoke to the positive influence that the program has had on their lives. Their stories evoked laughter in only the way that unabashed youth speaking without reservations could—one student spoke of the laborious process of digging for potatoes, exclaiming, “Finding one is like literally winning the lottery!” Yet another recounted his experience with tending plant life, explaining “I learned that growing plants requires lots more than water and sunlight.” He didn’t state it explicitly, but I’m pretty sure the missing ingredient he was referring to was love.
The evening was a smashing success, and while the outdoor growing season may have come to a close, it’s events like this that keep everyone at GTGK raring to start sowing for the next one.