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Luke Nguyen

Ajax, ON

Luke Nguyen, an ardent environmental advocate, co-founded Operation EcoPen, encouraging recycling of writing tools and crayons across Toronto. Knowledgeable in waste management, he initiated large event composting in his town. His innovative mealworm farm nourishes rescued animals at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, and his pandemic-era victory garden mitigates local hunger with hundreds of pounds of vegetables and provides wildlife feed. As a member of Ontario Nature Youth Council and his high school's Eco Club, he champions outreach and ecosystem restoration initiatives. His Sprout Idea Fellowship project "Seeds That Feed" expands his urban gardening efforts, aiming to further aid Feed the Need in Durham, the Queen’s University Food Bank, and local community gardens, including Lakeridge Health's Indigenous Community & Healing Garden.

Seeds That Feed

Seeds That Feeds transformed urban spaces into places that grew food for community members in need and fought hunger. We delivered a bounty of fresh vegetables to our community, directly combating local hunger. We also sought to inspire urban gardening as a powerful strategy for food security, potentially transforming lives and fostering a culture of sustainable living.

About this Project

Communities Served

My project will involve and/or impact the following communities:

  • At risk youth & children
  • Senior citizens
  • Refugees & newcomers
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Racial or visible minorities
  • Vulnerable individuals (e.g. those experiencing addiction, abuse)
  • Multi-barrier populations

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

When it comes to community impact projects, the UN has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These are the Sustainable Development Goals associated with my project.

  • SDG 1: No poverty
  • SDG 2: Zero hunger
  • SDG 3: Good health and Well-being
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

How the project works

Early this spring, we started planting seeds and preparing seedlings. We focused on growing a variety of vegetables to help fight food insecurity in our community. We dedicated significant time to planting, nurturing, and harvesting the crops, which involved a lot of hands-on work and coordination among team members. We also engaged with the community, spreading awareness about our initiative and the broader issue of food insecurity. Finally, after our fall harvest season, we donated vegetables to Feed The Need in Durham and Queen’s AMS Food Bank.

Project Impact

Our project achieved a significant impact by donating 600 lbs of vegetables to local food banks. This donation provided much-needed fresh produce to those facing food insecurity, particularly important given the ongoing financial strains many are experiencing. The success of this project extended beyond our initial #RisingYouth initiative. The biggest success of our project was the sheer quantity and quality of the vegetables we grew and donated. I'm most proud of how our team came together, overcoming various challenges to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. It's incredibly fulfilling to see the direct impact of our efforts on the community. Recipients of the vegetables shared how this fresh produce had made a difference in their diet. It was good to know that this project had made a tangible difference in people's lives.

Project Mission

Seeds That Feed is committed to alleviating local hunger through providing abundant fresh vegetables to our community. Our mission also encapsulates promoting urban gardening as an impactful tool for food security, aiming to inspire societal transformation and endorse sustainability.

Project Team

At Operation EcoPen, we're innovative youth committed to environmental stewardship and supporting our community.