The YAM (Youth Agricultural Mentors) program
launched in 2021, aimed at youth aged 15 to 18, we use regenerative agriculture to help youth develop employment, food literacy, interpersonal and other life skills.
Some of the food they grew on a plot of land at École secondaire Hanmer was sold at low cost at a pop-up market stand and the rest was donated to community food programs that serve people in need.
Beyond simply learning to grow food, the aims of YAM program are to provide training and support for young people to achieve high school graduation, to increase job readiness and financial literacy, to encourage healthier eating ,and to foster leadership skills.
Our YAM program was first inspired by a presentation in 2016 by Erin Beagle from Roots to Harvest, which has been providing similar (and now, much expanded) programming in Thunder Bay. Thanks in large part to a Seed grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation, Sudbury Shared Harvest was able to conduct considerable research, consulting and planning prior to launching the program and during our first season. In addition to Roots to Harvest staff, we are grateful for all the help and guidance from staff at FoodShare, GRuB, and local farmers at Three Forks Farms.
A special thanks is due to Cambrian R & D, which helped in many ways to make our first year a great success through collaboration on a three-year grant from NSERC that runs until 2023. Another huge boost came with a pledge of annual operating support from the City of Greater Sudbury, which helped us maximize benefits of project grants from the Government of Canada, Canada Post Community Foundation and Nature's Path Gardens for Good.