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Updated: Youth are planting Deep Roots: a rave from the Canadian Youth Climate Action Award

Update from our grand prize winners, January 2024:

"SDSS Eco-Club is using this money to cultivate an urban farm west of the school. This 50' x 50' plot is presently city property and on the corner of Smith and O'Loane Street in Stratford. Last winter students of the Eco-Club petitioned the residents of the surrounding area to inquire if they would be interested in creating an intergenerational garden on this site. The response was positive with many of the residents asking to participate. We will be using the funds to purchase and grow seeds for this site and to provide windbreaks. We also need to purchase water totes to irrigate this area that city has generously offered to fill when required. Once we have this site operational, we hope to build a shed and provide tools for our community to use on subsequent gardens. Our first planning meeting with the kids and residents is on January 20th at the school where we will discuss the types of seeds to purchase and organize planting dates in our greenhouse."


This year, Pivot Green launched the inaugural Canadian Youth Climate Action Award to celebrate young people across the country who are taking meaningful action against climate change. Thanks to our partners at the Small Change Fund and many generous donors in our community, we were able to recognize six youth-led projects making a localized, intergenerational impact. Our grand prize winners were the Stratford District Secondary School's eco-club, for their project "Deep Roots". Check out this message below to learn more about the winners!

Stratford District Secondary School ( SDSS) is thrilled to be awarded the first-place winner of Pivot Green’s inaugural Canadian Youth Climate Action Award. The Award recognizes the important work that young Canadians are undertaking in the fight against climate change across our country.

In this creative project, Grade 10 students joined with seniors to build an intergenerational garden on our school site. We flipped the script on cutting grass and are instead cultivating vegetables and berry plants. Our group celebrates its harvest each year with a communal dinner. Along with protecting carbon in the soil and increasing biodiversity, an important bi-product of the program is the bonds and friendships students have formed with seniors in the community. Deep Roots is a Green Industries/Screaming Avocado project in conjunction with the city of Stratford.

COVID-19 has wounded our population and we have forgotten how to communicate with each other and how to be outside and enjoy the outdoors. This program allows seniors and youth an opportunity to start a journey of communication and fellowship with each other. This builds bridges of understanding and connects the young in our community with seniors and to learning about compassion, empathy, and understanding.

A local environmental group (Climate Momentum) hosted its second annual Earth Day Street party (indoors this year because of rain). Bill James-Abra of Climate Momentum introduced himself at the event and thanked everyone for coming. He quoted the artist of the street party poster – Jenn Mezei – and said that the strongest resource to fight climate change is our neighbours. Bill also announced that SDSS’s innovative and engaging Deep Roots program had won the Canadian Youth Climate Action Award. Lucy Chung - a member of the school’s Eco Club - excitedly told the Stratford Today local newspaper that she couldn’t believe they won.

Pivot Green - the lead sponsor of the award (with the support of the Small Change Fund) - released the following statement:

“We were extremely impressed and inspired by the quality and quantity of submissions from coast to coast. It is clear that young Canadians are not sitting on the sidelines throwing up their hands in despair. On the contrary, these submissions are an unmistakable indication that young people are actively engaged and involved in a variety of impactful programs in the community.

For their win, Deep Roots won a plaque and an honorarium of $1500 that will go towards their next community gardening project.

Originally published June 6, 2023

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