Toronto’s environmental stage needs to keep its eyes open for two young, budding environmentalists. Sam and Leah, ages 8 and 11, have been to numerous green events around the city. They attended the YIMBY Festival last month, have been to various events held by Evergreen Brickworks and have picked fruit with Not Far From the Tree.
Last season, accompanied by their mother, Karen, and father, Jon, they biked to the site of the Not Far From The Tree pick, and spent the afternoon picking cherries. It was a sunny day and both Sam and Leah had tons of fun volunteering. Leah took her portion of cherries to school where she shared them with classmates. Both want to pick more fruit this season; Sam wants to pick watermelons and Leah would love to pick strawberries.
Karen, Leah and Sam also take part in many other impromptu events, whenever those opportunities arise. They take advantage of many one-off events hosted by the Evergreen Brickworks, like volunteering with the community garden. Also, a year and a half ago, Leah was chosen to be the ‘kids judge’ on the panel of a blueberry pie contest at Evergreen, where she had to taste 13 pies to decide the winner!
Both children hold a strong appreciation and understanding of the importance in supporting local initiatives and that’s due in large part to their mother.
“I think the most important things for kids is community, nature and food… And that’s our triangle of importance,” says Karen.
Karen has taken her children to many festivals and events in Toronto and says, “If it sounds interesting, we go.” They also choose to go to less mainstream events to avoid the big crowds. Karen is active on Twitter and uses that as a means for finding out about happenings in the city.
Aside from spending as much time outside as possible, she does create a positive and [technology free] space at home. Karen buys all of her foods from local shops and refuses to let anything processed in her household. She notes that Sam was “brought up in the Big Carrot,” and takes pride in saying most of the food she eats has only one ingredient.
With all their activities throughout the day, this family truly makes an effort to involve themselves locally. Whether it’s buying coffee from an independent, neighbourhood cafe or biking to do their errands, an emphasis on being a part of their community is always present.