YIMBY 2013: Green, Health, Youth

One of the main attractions of the YIMBY Festival this year will be the Community Marketplace where you can meet organizations who make Toronto better in all sorts of ways. What kinds of things do they work on?

Green in our back yards

There are some big challenges facing the world when it comes to the environment. Cities and the people who live in them have a big part to play in finding solutions. This year there are many exciting groups showcasing what they are doing to make Toronto a greener and more sustainable city.

Not Far From The Tree puts Toronto’s fruit to good use by picking and sharing the bounty. When a homeowner can’t keep up with the abundant harvest produced by their tree, Not Far From The Tree mobilizes volunteers to pick the bounty. The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the tree owner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 is delivered by bicycle to be donated to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens in the neighbourhood so that Toronto’s local fresh fruit is put to good use. It’s a win-win-win situation! Follow Not Far From The Tree on Facebook and Twitter.

transitiontorontoTransition Toronto is part of the global initiative Transition Towns and aims to make Toronto more resilient and prepared for the effects of peak oil and climate change. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

Taking a more creative approach to creating a more eco-friendly Toronto, Ecoartworx up-cycles would-be junk into beautiful jewelry and accessories, while supporting low income, refugee and immigrant women gain greater independence and empowerment. Learn more about Ecoartworx on Facebook and Twitter.

Toronto Green Community connects Torontonians with the natural world around them and promotes a greener city through a diverse range of programs focused on green spaces, clean water, and local food. Their community garden workshops teach residents the importance of local food production, and their Lost River walks get community members engaged in the ecological history of the city. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Toronto Park People is a catalyst for better parks in Toronto. They facilitate community engagement in local parks and provide resources for local park groups to improve their neighbourhood. Park People connects with local residents, park staff and private enterprise to create networks between park people throughout Toronto. They’re on Facebook and Twitter.

Healthy Toronto!

The Wellesley Institute is a non-profit research organization. Their main focus is to advance the population’s health by mobilizing the community and engaging themselves with relatable researches and policies. They conduct their work through four main approaches: housing, health care, economics and immigrant health. Over the next few years the Wellesley Institute plans on growing its services so that health care can now be delivered to the population when needed. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

The Toronto Vegetarian Association is a “greener” approach to Toronto’s healthy living. Their main mission is to motivate the population to choose a healthier, plant based food diet lifestyle. They achieve this goal through a series of vegetarian food festivals, drop-in information centres to educate the public and their own vegetarian directory that provides profound information on their plants and why choosing this lifestyle is healthy for you and the planet. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities is working to identify and address health and wellness needs in Scarborough. They provide residents with comprehensive health and social support including medical services, seniors’ support, food and clothing banks, wellness education, and youth engagement programs. Learn more about SCHC on their Facebook and Twitter.

Supporting Toronto’s Youth

More than a Haircut: The Barbershop Project from the Macaulay Child Development Centre facilitates conversations between Afro-Caribbean fathers and father-figures in the Eglington-Oakwood neighbourhood. These conversations take place in local barbershops and provide dads with an opportunity to discuss the challenges and joys of parenting, with the goal of increasing positive involvement in childrens’ lives. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Toronto facilitates life-changing relationships by connecting teens and youth with positive adult role-models in the community. Their mentoring program, along with group programs and leadership programs, empower children and youth to reach their full potential as individuals and citizens. See what they’ve been up to on Twitter and Facebook.

Youth Employment Services (YES) provides disadvantaged and vulnerable youth with the resources they need to find a meaningful career. When young people are employed and empowered, the entire community benefits. YES provides career counselling, job training, and connects with community employers to help young people become self-sufficient and contributing members of their community. Connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.

These are just a few of the great organizations that will be strutting their stuff at YIMBY this year! Don’t miss it!

This post was written with the assistance of Nishi Kumar and the University of Toronto’s INI235 Service Learning class.

See the event recap here.