Hi! My name is Katie Gauthier and I am a second year Community Worker student at George Brown College. With a prior university degree and a few years of experience in the workforce, I decided to go back to school to learn more concrete skills in topics such as community organizing, fundraising, counselling, instead of just winging it. I was immediately interested in Green Thumbs as a placement opportunity as it was a grassroots organization, allowed for hands-on experience in gardens, and the mission to tackle food security via the pathway of educating children on food and environmental literacy.
As we approach the Christmas break to have some much needed R & R and spend time with our families, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on what the first half of the school year offered us. Some of the highlights include participating in the Cabbagetown Farmers Market every Tuesday. The photo here is from the last market day of the year on Halloween. Although we were a much smaller producer than other local farmers or artisanal goods stalls, it was great to make the connections and see people return week after week to purchase our produce, grown just 1km away.
Also one of the joys was having the chance to work with the students in their school gardens. With the college duration for placement spanning from September to April, there is only a small window that we get to be planting or harvesting with the children. It was invigorating to see the excitement of children in the garden. It is organizations like Green Thumbs that highlight the importance of nature-based learning in schools. Not only do they conduct garden lessons with children, but they also provide fresh food for school meal programs. Healthy, nutritious food is vital to a growing mind.
Another project I have spent my time doing is with fellow placement student, Gab, who is from the Community Development program at Centennial College. We are both vegan, promote environmentalism, and focus on different aspects than the Child and Youth Care students do. We have focused on expanding the existing pea shoot program into a scalable social enterprise model to help fund our school program. Keep an eye out in the new year for more updates!
I’m looking forward to exploring more with children in the classroom as we begin winter hibernation inside, and coming up with new ideas with my coworkers!