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A Growing Team at Growing Chefs! Introducing Afton Bell

January 22, 2018

This January, Growing Chefs! welcomed three new Program/Volunteer Liaisons to our team. We’re thrilled to introduce you to Afton Bell. Welcome, Afton!

“I’m so happy to join Growing Chefs! So far, I’ve been stuffing (I hear my supervisor likes food puns) my brain with all there is to know about Growing Chefs! and meeting all the passionate people that make Growing Chefs! a unique and awesome organization.

I’ll start by saying that I’m a small-town kid, I grew up in the Kootenays and my family always had a garden. As a child I can remember marveling at the giant zucchinis, eating fresh raspberries, and telling tales about how poisonous a rhubarb leaf is. When my husband and I moved to the Lower Mainland into a small townhouse (with no yard) I wondered how different life would be with no green space to call our own. It took some adjustment, but we noticed that what city dwellers lack in space they make up for with industrious creativity. Following the lead of our neighbours, we planted tomatoes, and lettuce on the deck and filled our front walkway with mint and cilantro. Nothing makes me happier than stepping outside to pick some herbs for dinner, it reminds me of home and makes dinner taste great.

When my daughter entered preschool, we were very excited that her school had plenty of outdoor space and a large garden that the kids worked hard to plant, maintain and harvest. In the summer, the kids are invited to visit as often as they like, care for the garden and stuff their pockets with whatever is ready. Spending time at the garden became a highlight of our summers. Watching my daughter’s eagerness to learn about the garden and her amazement at a humble vegetable like a potato renewed my interest in food and encouraged me to seek out more opportunities for my family to connect with food whenever possible. For us, this means growing some food, visiting the farmers market, preparing food together, and sometimes even making drawings of our food (see below for my daughter’s portrait of an especially pretty potato).

Today, we are full-fledged city folk, but we have still found plenty of space in our life for growing, preparing and eating delicious fresh food. I am keenly anticipating meeting the kids and volunteers that will be working with Growing Chefs! this spring and learning more about how they connect with food in the city!”


Portrait of a potato

“POTATO” by Penny


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