Ecosource’s Urban Agriculture program supports the community in learning about local food, through hands-on experiences like growing, harvesting, preserving, and cooking with. We offer education opportunities at the Iceland Teaching Garden, at Ecosource’s Community Hub, in the community, and virtually. Grow your field-to-table skills with Ecosource!
Growing for Our Good
The Iceland Teaching Garden
Get Involved at our Iceland Teaching Garden!
At Ecosource we believe that getting people outside and getting their hands in the dirt is an integral part of encouraging environmentally aware citizens. The Iceland Teaching Garden is planted and maintained by community volunteers and local youth working collectively.
The Peel Local Food Literacy in Action project provides training and support to volunteers, as well as school field trips for local schools. Gardening workshops, planting projects, and field trips provide students, community groups, and corporate groups with the opportunity for hands-on learning about gardening, ecosystems, native plants, and environmental stewardship. They are also a great way to share a team-building, fun experience while giving back to the community.
Young Urban Growers
The Iceland teaching Garden hosts the Young Urban Growers, an urban agriculture and social enterprise skills training program for youth. This group meets to learn about and discuss food and urban agriculture topics, work together to grow produce and cook-up their food transformation skills. Each year, they bring their learning and skills together to create youth-led projects that help raise awareness of the importance of local food.
Click on the projects below to read about what youth have worked on over the years.
As youth, we have a right to good food. In the summer of 2021, we worked with our Ecosource youth volunteers to create our very first Youth-Led Food Rights Declaration! We came together through virtual brainstorming sessions to envision and call for an equitable and just food system in the Region of Peel.
When asked “What does food mean to you?” and “What do you want food systems to look like in the future?” members of the Young Urban Growers rallied together to explore these questions creatively through a zine. Click here to check out their zine.
Wanting a break from gardening, youth took some time to cook their favourite dishes and showcase their culture using tomatoes from the Iceland Teaching Garden. Check out their video on our Instagram page to see how they like to eat tomatoes.
At one of our end-of-year reflections, youth identified there were very few platforms created and lead by youth, for youth on the topic of urban agriculture. A group of youth decided to come together to create the Plug in To Grow podcast. This podcast explores the people, stories, and drivers that are shaping local food, urban agriculture, and sustainability in Peel.
In 2020, the podcast team took their leadership further by hosting workshops for other youth interested in creating their own podcast. Listen to the Plug in To Grown Podcast here or on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.
Over the summer of 2019, six youth took the stage at the Brampton Farmers’ Market to showcase their cooking skills. They used the mornings to shop the market, meet farmers and learn more about local food. After their shopping trips, they did recipe demos on stage for market shoppers to learn how to cook with different ingredients that were available at the market that day. While they were cooking, they had conversations about their food experiences, thoughts, and hopes with Celebrity Chef Jason Rosso from J. Red & Co. in Brampton.
At the Iceland Teaching Garden, volunteers learned about citizen science and the role it can play in sustainability. Using iNaturalist, they tracked biodiversity in and around the Iceland Teaching Garden to explore how gardens and green spaces affect biodiversity in the city. After a few months of being citizen scientists, they created a workshop and travelled to our community gardens all across Mississauga to teach gardeners about citizen science. Check out our group on iNaturalist. We’re called “youngurbangrowers“.
After a year of planting, weeding, and harvesting veggies, youth wanted to share all they had learned with the community. A group of youth shared their stories and helped Ecosource write the Grown In Mississauga Training Manual – a step-by-step gardening book for new growers. Read it here
Wanting to flex their social enterprise skills, a group of youth grew specialty herbs at the Iceland Teaching Garden and partnered with Studio.89 to use their kitchen space to create value-added products such as herb salts and pesto. These products were taken to local farmers’ markets where youth were able to engage with the community and sell their creations.