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School Gardens Land Back Training Program!

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

Green Thumbs Growing Kids is a for-impact organization. Our goal is to cultivate environmental stewardship through hands-on gardening programs and food education to urban youth and communities. Our programs combine the pillars of health, environment, food, and social justice in an effort to create unique and innovative solutions to the complex problems our current and future generations face.

Green Thumbs Growing Kids has been establishing and running successful curriculum-linked programs in school gardens since 2000. Due to the large number of requests we’ve received to help new schools, we’ve expanded our offerings to include a daytime training program to enable parents and community members to start or meaningfully contribute to elementary school gardens in their own neighbourhoods.

Green Thumbs Growing Kids’ newest initiative is the School Garden Land Back Training Program. Our objective is to train two cohorts of volunteers consisting of ten participants each, to learn how to start, manage and run elementary school garden programs suited to their own school community and land. At the end of the program, you'll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to be able to create your own school garden, or to assist meaningfully in a pre-existing school garden. We are currently recruiting our first cohort of 10 participants to embark on this exciting new program. Our training program will have a focus on developing practical gardening skills and knowledge, as well as an emphasis on food policy, literacy and the role both have in youth education.

Indigenous Mentorship

Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to learn from Indigenous mentors to experience and learn first hand about decolonization and reciprocity. Our TDSB students are hearing the Land Acknowledgement every morning over the PA system - here’s an opportunity to bring it to life.

This program has zero associated costs for enrolment and participation, and is taught over a four month period (October through January) consisting of 15 weeks. The expected time commitment is 4 hours a week (2 hours 2x/wk) starting October 2 and ending the week of January 22 (breaking for holidays, of course!) The training and education will be covered through various methods including: in-class (and online) academic learning, hands-on gardening, supplementary readings and occasional written assignments. To help with travel costs for participants, tokens will be provided, and we'll cover the cost of your Vulnerable Sector clearance. By the end of the four month period, we expect 60 hours of participation to be completed, and as a result you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Green Thumbs Growing Kids.

If you are interested in this opportunity, but don't have time during our first cohort training session (October to January), do not fret! We will be running a second cohort of 10 participants in the months of March to June 2024 (March 4 through week of June 17), and will be accepting applications for a waiting list.

If you are seriously interested in working in a school garden, consider this valuable investment of time learning with an expert organization, free of charge. This is a fantastic opportunity to deepen relationships towards decolonization, as well as your understanding and stewardship towards a sustainable environment. Join us in volunteering with our diverse organization, and assist in cultivating and developing Toronto urban agriculture education programs!

Registration closes September 22nd, 2023.

For more information and to let us know of your interest in this opportunity, please fill out this form and/or contact

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