donor profile

Donor Profile: Champion Radish Club

The Champion Radish Club is currently made up of 61 generous individuals and families who donate monthly. They share our vision of a world with healthy, just, sustainable food practices and we’d love to introduce you to three of them!

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RICHARD BANNER
A Champion Radish Club member since 2016, Richard Banner works with Polestar Communications Inc. as a writer and editor. He is the vice chair of the Growing Chefs! board of directors and has served on the board for over a decade.

CHRISTINA BOLISZCZUK & MIKE SHEARER
Christina was once a member of our staff team at Growing Chefs! and now works for Canuck Place Children's Hospice as a Major Gifts Officer. Mike is a Service Center Manager at Speedy Glass. The two have recently become first-time parents! They have been Champion Radish Club members since 2017.

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RISA PAYANT
Risa is our newest Champion Radish Club member joining just this week! She works as the Executive Director of Common Weal Community Arts, a Saskatchewan arts organization and moonlights as an artist, a grant-writing consultant, and in a brewery. Risa is a mother of two.

What's your favourite seasonal vegetable?

Richard: I'm really enjoying the fresh asparagus this year. I like to think of the crisp green shoots pushing their way out of the ground and reaching up into the sunshine.

Christina: This is always tough to decide because I love pretty much all vegetables! Celery has always been a favourite since I was a kid for snacking - I still love ants on a log.

Mike: Corn on the cob!

Risa: I'm obsessed with zucchini. There's no dish that can't be made better with zucchini. Plus, I love growing monster zucchini in the garden every summer. I have the opposite of a green thumb, but the zucchini always pulls through!

What is your earliest food-related memory?

Richard: I remember the taste of green beans that I picked from the bushes in the back of my parent's home in Port Alberni. I didn't enjoy it then when I had to go out to the hot garden to pick the beans, but I still remember how good they were.

Christina: I have so many good food memories! When I was little we lived on a small hobby farm and my parents grew and raised most of our food. I feel quite lucky to have experienced this. When I was little we could walk out to the garden and pick fresh strawberries, carrots, and peas for snacks. Fresh always tasted just the best!

Risa: Eating dinner in the field during harvest. I feel like the smell of dirt and grain is nostalgic for everyone who grew up in a farming family. My prairie childhood is such a huge part of who I am and the most iconic memory is sitting in the bed of a pickup truck, covered in dust and eating classic farm meals with my Dad.

As a parent, what food values do you bring to your family?

Christina & Mike: We love to cook. We love making everything from scratch and consider ourselves fairly adventurous eaters. Having our daughter experience a wide variety of flavours when she starts on solid food is important because we want her to enjoy much of what we like and learn that there’s so much variety in food. When she is old enough we will have her join in the food prep/cooking experience as much as possible. Even toddlers can learn to help! Taking pride in the food you prepare makes you enjoy eating it so much more. It also helps to create a less picky eater which is always a bonus.

Risa: I think it's important to remember that food is what fuels us. It's so easy to succumb to thinking you need to make "kid food" (which is, inevitably, beige), but when you shift the conversation to filling your body with nutritious fuel, vegetables become magic. I also think it's crucial to let kids be a part of everything from grocery shopping to food prep to cooking. Meal times are family time and that extends well beyond just eating together.

How does being a part of the Champion Radish Club make you feel?

Richard: I'm happy that I can do a bit to help bring the Growing Chefs! program to kids in schools. I've seen how much fun kids have growing and eating healthy foods so I hope Growing Chefs! can bring the program to as many people as possible.

Christina & Mike: We love contributing to kids learning about healthy eating and being in the kitchen. It will benefit them their whole lives! Plus who doesn’t love digging in dirt and watching food grow? Growing Chefs! brings so much joy to the classroom and kids take those lessons home to their families.

Risa: So many kids in urban centres are growing up completely disconnected from their food. Growing Chefs! is doing important work in making sure kids in Vancouver understand where their food comes from and give them knowledge about what they put in their bodies.

Donor Profile: Earth's Own

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Our Adopt a Classroom program makes it easy for companies to get involved with Growing Chefs! This 2018/2019 school year, Earth's Own generously adopted four classrooms, providing the opportunity for these teachers and kids to experience our Classroom Gardening & Cooking Program when they otherwise couldn't.

We caught up with Robyn Skinner to talk a little about Earth’s Own new branding, and why they support Growing Chefs!

How long have you been working at Earth's Own, and what do you do there?

I started at Earth’s Own in May 2018, so I am still relatively new. That being said, since joining the team our plant-based mission has really impacted the way I look at + think about food. I have adopted a mostly plant-based diet and really believe in our mission.

The best way to describe my job is that I am a Plant-Based Connector. My #1 role as a Brand Manager is to get more people eating more plants. It’s as simple as that!

What is the most exciting part of working at Earth's Own?

Right now… everything! We are all about creating change. At Earth’s Own we’re on a mission to make plant-based living delicious and doable. Why? Because plants make us feel good, they’re good to the earth and they are great for communities. In short, we think a plant based diet can save the world and that’s really exciting!

Oh and Oat Milk. I’m low-key obsessed with Oat Milk! It is the new environmental kid on our plant-based block. If you haven’t tried it yet, we highly recommend. It’s rich and creamy like milk, grown using 7x less water than Almond or Dairy Milk and it supports Canadian Farmers.

Tell us a little more more about the company.

At Earth’s Own, we’re here to stand up for the planet and our health. We don’t see plant-based living as a “vegan” thing, it’s an everybody thing. We see eating plants as a healthier choice for the Earth and our bodies. Plants use less water, land and energy and are more nutritious. We dig ‘em so much, even our cartons are made from plants! We have some pretty big goals for the Plant Generation, but as I said above it’s really about inspiring more people to eat more plants.

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We see Earth’s Own has a new logo! Tell us more about your new branding.

Yes! We have re-designed our logo to align back to our mission. “We dig plants!” You’ll now start to see this branding come to life. We also will be launching a new website and are updating all of our packaging, starting in February. It’s a really exciting time for us and we can’t wait to share everything we have been working on.

What about Growing Chefs! resonated with your giving?

Well, if the future is plant-based, then it begins with our kids! We love how the Growing Chefs! program is teaching young ones how to grow their own veggies and turn them into healthy meals. In turn they teach their parents and families how to bring more plants into their meals. The more we can support making plants fun for kids, the better.

What was it like visiting the Growing Chefs! classroom?

I absolutely loved it! In November 2018, we were invited to act as judges for the end of the semester stir-fry competition. I couldn’t believe how excited the kids were to take the recipes they had personally created and cook them for us. They were so proud of what they had done and it tasted delicious! I remember one of the teams plated their dish with a side smear of Sriracha sauce. It definitely won the most “Spice-tastic” award!

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