Vancouver’s Growing Chefs! is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering healthy, local and sustainable food systems through elementary school education programs. Teaching children to grow and consume food locally and sustainably creates positive ripple effects that impact food consumption practices on a global scale. Positive change starts with proper education.
Growing Chefs! was founded by Merri Schwartz, a professional pastry chef. In the fine dining kitchens where she worked, Merri saw vast amounts of knowledge about food sustainability, nutrition, and local agriculture—but that knowledge stayed trapped behind kitchen walls. She founded Growing Chefs! in 2005 as a tool to connect chefs and growers—along with their valuable knowledge—to local communities through a fun, empowering, educational program.
To do this, they run a Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program in elementary schools to get kids excited about growing, cooking, and eating good, healthy food. Chef volunteers are paired with Grades 1-3 classrooms for the primary program and Grades 4-6 classrooms for the intermediate program to give students hands-on gardening and cooking experience.
Over the course of three and a half months, the chefs visit the classroom every two weeks, helping the students plant and tend to indoor vegetable gardens. The chefs engage the students in games, lessons, and activities focusing on plant growth, local and urban agriculture, sustainability, and nutrition. The students harvest their vegetables, and the chefs teach them to cook delicious, healthy meals with what they have grown.
We are thrilled to have Growing Chefs! as our featured charity for the event of the summer: Dinner on the Pier.
Proceeds from our generous sponsors and raffle ticket sales will go towards bringing the Growing Chefs! program into North Shore schools.