Quebec camp teaches metropolis youngsters about farming and sustainability

On the edge of the Quebec-Ontario border, a summer camp is giving city kids a chance to get their hands dirty.

At Young Roots Farm, campers get a break from urban living as they learn about sustainable farming.

The program is run by Camp Amy Molson (CAM) in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Que.

“Farming is so relaxing, everyone should do it. It really helps deal with stress,” said CAM counselor Zedekai McKenzie.

“There’s a lot more vegetables, a lot more places to plant new things.”

Farm coordinator Amy Castillo told CTV News the goal is to give kids a sense of self-sufficiency and confidence.

“Sometimes we struggle as kids, as grown-ups. It’s identity. ‘[Am I] fitting in here, fitting in there?’ On the land, that doesn’t exist,” said Castillo. “It’s just more belonging, and that’s what we’re aiming to teach the kids with the farm.”

The program also helps shape the children’s understanding of the natural world and where the food on their table comes from.

“They kinda develop a different relationship with food, with nature, with animals,” said training director Emelie Sattaratn.

The campers prep a daily salad bar, chopping and tasting their crop — like arts and crafts that you can eat.

Produce from the farm also goes to markets in the area, and even some Montreal restaurants.

(CTV News)

“It’s organic, very delicious,” said Castillo. “And at the same time, all the money we get goes into nurturing the farm [so it] keeps being sustainable. I think that’s also why they order, because they know the project.”

It’s a feeling that rings true for chef Paul Toussaint of the Kamuy restaurant in Montreal.

“You’re going to have the best vegetables because they are not there for the money, they’re not there for ‘I need to make a lot of products to sell’ — no. They’re doing it for love,” he said.

“We need the vegetables. At the same time, we have to respect the soil and we have to respect the environment.”

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