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Back to our roots: the role of nature and food in a crisis

In this time of disruption, we think back to our organizational roots: what is the role of nature and food in crisis? 

seedlings germinating in soil with roots visible

Published on April 13, 2020

The current global pandemic affects us all. In Canada, we have been called upon to physically distance and enact extraordinary measures to ensure the ongoing health and well-being of our communities. Everyone has a responsibility towards the collective.  

In this time of disruption, we think back to our organizational roots: what is the role of nature and food in crisis? The profound power of nature and food has long been a pillar of Evergreen’s work. We have done decades of work connecting children, caregivers and the wider community to the kind of creativity, learning and improved social outcomes that emerge from placemaking, nature play, resilient food systems and gardening.  

The importance of urban agriculture

Urban agriculture bridges both the importance of a resilient food system and connecting through gardening. A diversity of people can learn valuable new skills through growing their own food, and it’s possible to create urban agriculture projects even on the small-scale (window gardens, anyone?). We asked Isaac Crosby, our Urban Ag lead, for some quick ideas around how best to support our local food systems during this time. He suggested, “Plan and start your garden. Take your local food system back and be sure to purchase from local farmers and seed vendors as much as possible.” 

Isaac also offered some of his reflections on how our relationships to food and nature may shift for the better, after the pandemic ends. He shared that “people are realizing that we need to grow our own food in order to thrive. Relying on big agribusiness to feed us is not secure in any way. If they have a hiccup in their chain (such as not enough workers), then we will see less food for higher prices.” 

bright green herbs in little clay pots on a window sill

How is Evergreen adapting?

Already, we have shifted many of our on-site programs to adapt and by doing so, we hope to continue to bring the spirit of the Brick Works into homes. That’s why we launched Evergreen To-Go – everything you love about Evergreen’s programs and the Brick Works site, all wrapped up. This began as the ‘Farm-in-a-Box' program as a placeholder for our popular Saturday farmer’s market. By ordering these weekly local boxes, you are continuing to support both Evergreen Brick Works and our network of farmers in these disruptive times. These boxes are already selling out quickly – and we are working to add capacity over the coming weeks.  

We have since added another exciting element to Evergreen To-Go: the Seed-to-Sprout box. This box provides you with everything you and your family require to grow plants from the beginning of their life-cycleIt also includes the My Seed to Sprout Activity Book, filled with games, quizzes, crafts, all based on the Ontario science curriculum.  

Looking for more ideas?

We also invite you to explore some of these posts and resources below from our vaults to draw inspiration!