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Volunteer Profile: Shane Smitna

May 28, 2014

We are excited to introduce Shane – a fantastic and dedicated Chef who volunteers in our Classroom Program every two weeks!  Shane has volunteered with Growing Chefs! for two years, and now has the opportunity to use his culinary skills at a NASA/Nutyco space diving camp, where he will be Chef to 35 people for a 2-week diving/training program for future Mars and space missions.  As he says himself, it’s “a wonderful chance to expand [his] culinary dream.”  How cool is that?  To learn more about this project, visit “to see what they have been doing, and to follow your dreams.”


Hi Shane! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Shane, I grew up in a hunting and fishing family in the Kootenays.  Watching my mum cook always interested me, and hunting and fishing with my family taught me a lot about food and its sources. It took many years to realize I wanted to be in the kitchen industry, eventually graduating from PICA and following my dream. I garden at home, and remembering how many gardens I was in as a child really makes it reminiscent for me.

Why did you decide to get involved with the Growing Chefs! Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program?

I got interested in Growing Chefs! from my second semester Chef Scott Cunningham who participated in the program and only had great things to say.

Why do you think the program is important?

I feel the program is important as you can really teach a young generation a lot about food and sustainability at a young age, something I had never learned until much later in life.

What’s it like to be a volunteer with Growing Chefs?

Teaching children is the most amazing experience I have ever felt. This is my second year and I plan to volunteer as long as I’m able.

What was your favourite Growing Chefs! classroom moment(s)?

My favourite moments are the first class, watching the interest of the children, and the final class, seeing the change in the thinking of them.

Why is food sustainability and local and urban agriculture important to you?

I think sustainability, urban and local agriculture are very important for the survival and respect of mother earth; it’s important to know that we can provide for ourselves without relying on big corporations or damaging the earth, and we know exactly what’s in our final product. Health and livelihood by our own hands!


Thanks, Shane!


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