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Volunteer Profile: Trish Liao

August 2, 2013
Volunteers are the backbone of our Growing Chefs! Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program. We’re so fortunate to have so many interested community members commit three months to our program to teach kids about cooking and growing their own food. Meet photographer, Trish Liao and read about how she got involved with our program this year.


Volunteer Trish with team mates Julia and Eleonore

Trish (left) with team mates Julia (centre) and Eleonore (right)


Tell us about how you first got involved with Growing Chefs.
I first heard of Growing Chefs! from my friend Chef Shay who volunteered with the program last year and encouraged me to look into it. Although I’ve never cooked professionally, I love being in the kitchen and better yet, cooking with food from my own garden. The mission statements of the Growing Chefs! program, “To support and encourage the development and growth of urban agriculture.” and “To provide an avenue for chefs and growers to engage in the community and to support food sustainability.” are what really clicked with me though. I really feel that it’s important to educate kids at a young age for them to know where their food comes from and that they have the power to make choices with food that are not only good for their bodies but also good for their communities.

Photo by Trish Liao

Students planting peas to take home. Photo by Trish Liao

What’s it like to be a volunteer with Growing Chefs?
I look forward to every lesson with my Grade 1 class. They are so smart, full of energy and hilarious! I leave every lesson with a huge smile on my face. They are genuinely interested in each of the lessons and are always so excited to share their own thoughts and experiences. It’s such a great feeling to see the kids so engaged in the discussions and activities in the Growing Chefs lessons.
What was your favourite Growing Chefs! classroom moment?
We brought in a few varieties of squashes and had the class guess what colour they thought the inside of an acorn squash and spaghetti squash were. When Chef Stuart revealed the insides, the faces and responses we received were priceless. We cooked up the spaghetti squash to show the class (and give them the opportunity to taste) the natural spaghetti-like texture of the squash and one of the kids, after tasting it for the first time, exclaimed on the top of his lungs that it was his “FAVOURITE VEGETABLE IN THE WORLD” and quietly asked me on the side if he could take some seeds with him to plant at home. 

Students with Chef Stuart of Tacofino transplant beans into garden. Photo by Trish Liao.

Students with Chef Stuart of Tacofino transplant beans into garden. Photo by Trish Liao.


If someone wasn’t 100% convinced they should volunteer with Growing Chefs, what would you tell them?
It is so much fun, and if you don’t often get the opportunity to work with kids, you will be so amazed at how much they can teach you.
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