What is East Van CAN?
East Van CAN (Culinary Arts Network) is a youth and community engagement program that brings students from local high-schools together with professional chefs in order to create value-added products that are then sold in local Farmers Markets across the city. The program is made possible through a grant with Telus Community Grant a partnership with Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society whose already established SOYL program has recently been cultivating youth in urban farming and good food practices.
As an After School program the participating students are developing skills in food literacy and food safe as well as learning the concepts and workings behind a social enterprise. The program runs for the full calendar school year and students will be creating and selling artisan products such as Lavender Blueberry Jam, Tomatoes Sauce, Fragrant Salad Dressings, Pesto, Pickled Root Vegetables, and more! Students are not only gaining the valuable life and employable skills available through program but are also experiencing the past through inter-generational learning as traditions and recipes are passed on.
This is an immensely positive opportunity for not only students but also the community at large to support local fresh products and Good Food practices. It paves the way for a greener, more agriculturally aware generation to take on the future in an ever-changing urban setting. Essentially, it can be described as “Good Food made by youth for you.”
Where can I buy these products?
All artisan products are created and distributed by the youth in the East Van CAN program and will be available at various Farmers Markets throughout the city. Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre will also have all products available on their new online eCommerce platform East Van Shop.
We would also like to thank Telus Community Grants, whose generous support has made this innovative, inclusive, and groundbreaking program possible for a second year in a row!