Healthy Living YMCA Camps and Outdoor Education

What’s growing at Cedar Glen’s Organic Farm

Basket of vegetables

Guest post from Melisanne Loiselle-Gascon, Farm Team Leader at YMCA Cedar Glen.

Some adults will remember going to visit family members on their farm as a kid. Other might remember their parents tending a vegetable garden. Most will have a story to tell about how good vegetables tasted when they were young. I certainly remember my parents’ garden: tomatoes warm from the sun; juicy crunchy cucumbers; and young snappy yellow beans.

Today, though, many young people do not have the opportunity to see where their produce is grown. In fact, if you ask kids where food comes from, some might answer: the grocery store. Developing innovative programs to connect kids to the source of their food is one of the main goals of the Organic Farm at YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre.

I often think about how I got from a picky eater growing up in the suburbs to growing organic vegetables at YMCA Cedar Glen. Like so many people working at camp, I draw from my own childhood experience to imagine what camps can be. This is how our new Farm to Table day camp came about: creating experience with food and gardens. Kids will come to the farm, pick tomatoes for example, eat, and cook with them. Want to use tomato sauce to make a pizza? Let’s go harvest some wheat, clean the grains, grind them, add some water and yeast, let rise, and we will have dough for the pizza. This is what Farm to Table camp is all about: food from scratch.

Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program is another way for us to encourage food experience this summer. Our members sign up in the spring to receive weekly boxes of vegetables during the summer months. This summer, we are making our CSA shares available in Toronto with pickup locations at Cooper Koo Family Y and West End Y. This way, after some exercise and fun at the Y, you can pick up your vegetable box, and take a bite out of your freshly harvested crunchy carrot. This is what summer is all about!

Find out more about the Cedar Glen Organic Farm.