Meet Ilana Guslits, the Garden Programs Coordinator at Growing Chefs! Ontario, and a true inspiration when it comes to supporting our local food system. Ilana manages the learning garden and two greenhouses, providing a great educational experience for students, volunteers, and coworkers alike.
In 2022, Ilana’s Garden Education Program achieved these remarkable milestones:
- 1000 community boxes delivered
- 3000 lbs of fresh food harvested
- 2000 lbs of Food Bank donations rescued from the landfill
- 150 hours of therapeutic farming and job skills training provided
- +5000 participants and volunteers involved in job skills training lead by Ilana
Originally from London, Ilana returned in 2019 to be closer to her family and raise her daughter. With over 8 years of experience in agriculture, spanning both rural and urban settings, she seamlessly combines her passion for growing beautiful food with her love for community work as the Garden Program Coordinator. From leading school field trips through the Learning Gardens to harvesting fresh produce for families in need, Ilana embraces the opportunity to get her hands dirty while educating everyone about the significance of local food.
One project that truly ignites Ilana’s passion is the community food box program. This initiative cultivates culturally-relevant crops for bi-weekly harvest, reaching out to families in need, especially newcomers. Now in its second year, Ilana envisions expanding this program by transforming more underutilized urban spaces into productive gardens. By doing so, she aims to foster agricultural education and employment opportunities in our urban centre, empowering individuals who seldom see themselves represented as leaders in our food system’s production stages.
Ilana Guslits, with her endless commitment and passion, is a true Food System Champion. Let’s celebrate her remarkable work and continue to grow a sustainable and green future together.