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Volunteer Week – All about the classroom!

April 14, 2016

Growing Chefs! is in 44 classrooms in the province this year reaching over 1200 kids! We would not be able to do it without our dedicated volunteers who deliver the program and share their knowledge and passion for good food. This year some of our volunteers are so excited to be back in the class that they are volunteering in two classrooms!

Today for National Volunteer Week we want to introduce you to one of our three volunteers who are so passionate they are involved in two school classrooms this spring – Lesley Leithead!

IMG_9518I moved to Vancouver from Toronto in January 2015 to pursue the West Coast Dream. Previously I lived and worked in hospitality in Australia for two years and travelled Southeast Asia for seven months before returning home to complete my post grad in Public Relations. I feel very at home in Vancouver I love its green, active mentality and exploring. I am currently working as FOH at a 
restaurant however, I started my career in hospitality when I was 15 in a catering kitchen.

I decided to get involved with Growing Chefs! because it combines my three passions: children, cooking and nature. I volunteer and continue to do so because I recognize how important it is for children to learn the value of healthy eating and locally sourced food. Also because as a child growing up my greatest role models were actually those that worked closest with me such as nannies, camp counsellors etc. I really wanted the opportunity to give back to the community and hopefully positively influence children’s lives the way it had been done for me.

My favourite vegetable is eggplant, I was introduced to it as a child by a close family friend who is a chef. It was stir-fried in Hoisin and I immediately became obsessed. I also love it in Babaganoush, as parmigiana, and soaked in oil Italian-style. It has so much diversity!

favourite memory so far with Growing Chefs! in the classroom was just this week when we were writing out a list of “garden rules” and the first thing that came up was to “give the garden love.” To which I learned the children were blowing the plants kisses to help them grow because we all need LOVE to grow. My heart melted.The program gives me a sense of self, I love that I’m not just inspiring them, they inspire me and I would love to see it grow and more people get involved. It requires minimal time for what it gives back to Vancouver’s youth.


A big thanks to Lesley for all her time spent in the classroom with us! If you are interested in joining us in the class check out our volunteer information on our website and sign up to volunteer today!

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