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our programs

Trees from Seed

urban trees from seed

Since 2017, we've been growing trees from seed with children and youth. Many thanks to the Urban Forestry Division of Toronto Parks and Recreation Department for their ongoing support of this program. 


As Toronto aims to get from 26% to 40% canopy cover, to support our urban wildlife, shade in summer, and beauty year round, we have developed this program to engage students in this endeavour. Planting trees from seed means that each tree is a genetically unique individual, supporting resilience. 

In this program, students learn about the urban canopy, biodiversity, seed dispersal and the importance of native species. This project engages children to care for trees, from collecting and sowing seed to transplanting the seedlings and beyond. Students also learn the Indigenous names for the tree species that we plant, and other Indigenous language vocabulary

We have developed modular no-dig tree nurseries for the seedlings, that are installed in our partner schools. Each student can take pride in their seedling. We love to imagine a parent bringing their child to the tree in future, saying "I planted this tree from seed!" Wouldn't that be amazing?

Depending on the time of year you book a program, we might be able to even go collect the seed from the tree with your students.

To get in touch about booking a Trees from Seed program for your class, click the button below to connect with us by email. 

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This was our second program and we loved it!

Thank you for all your hard work.

Always engaging!

Ms. Williams - Grade 4

kids growing
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kids growing

Kids Growing, our elementary school program, operates during the school day and uses gardening and food activities to support learning objectives.

The gardens are dynamic classrooms for vibrant hands-on learning in many subject areas. Programs are linked to Ontario curriculum, especially the science strands, but also math, language, art, social studies, healthy eating and healthy physical activity. Teachers register for time slots during class time, and we support garden learning in our workshops in much the same way as a physical education teacher supports health curriculum or a librarian supports literacy, across the grades.

 

Volunteers and staff ensure that outdoor programs are accessible and safe for teachers to bring their classes, and help teachers learn more about school gardening. We also offer other school-based programs on school grounds, outside of formal learning time, such as after school or lunchtime programs. This supervised recreational programming is also greatly important for students, to allow for free play and exploration.

To learn more about programs, click the button below and connect with us by email.

urban roots youth

urban roots youth

Urban Roots Youth is our youth-driven after-school and summer program, giving youth the opportunity to produce their own food, learn about compost and soil, and handle produce donations and sales. They may earn co-op or volunteer hours, or join the team through placements from college and university programs such as Early Childhood Education, Community Work, and Teacher Candidates. They also have opportunities for paid work, helping provide recreational programs for young children in the gardens.

To join the mailing list for upcoming program registration, click the button and connect with us by email

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My students are so excited to do programs with Green Thumbs.

Can't wait to book again! Thank you!

 

Ms. Fossella - Grade 1

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“I adore this program. No matter what I always looked forward to spending a calm afternoon either encouraging native species growth or planting activities. The staff are amazing and it is generally just a wonderful place.”

 

- Urban Roots Youth Participant

summer programs

summer programs

In summer, our gardens are cared for by the community through structured programming.

 

Many children don’t get out of the city very much in the summer – so the cool green spaces with running water are especially compelling. Food harvested goes to volunteers, or to local market or restaurants. Food security and access is top of mind during the harvest season. Seed is collected, packaged, and then locally distributed for use next year.

Summer programs are critically important in the school garden since summer maintenance is often a barrier to success. Active programming with a focus on play, nutrition, and games turns the garden into a summer camp destination, providing healthy outdoor activities for low or no cost.

To learn more about programs, click the button below and connect with us by email. Please note - we do not run our own summer camp, rather, we partner with other local child and youth-serving agencies to run programs.

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I loved all of the information and the slides that allowed the students to participate by answering the questions and seeing their answers move. The drawing of worms as we picture them was my favourite part.

-Ms. Andrews, Dundas Jr. Public School

grown-ups gardening

School Gardens
Land Back
Training Program

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.

 

Program participants will 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, participants will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to be able to create their own school garden, or to assist meaningfully in a pre-existing school garden.

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.

To learn more about this program, click the button below and connect with us by email.

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