An Okanagan Based Non-Profit Program

The CAFE Program

What’s It All About?

For us here at the Start Fresh Project, we are more than just a place to grow and cook food. We are about people, family, and community. Our mission is to inspire others to grow and cook fresh, healthy foods, all while gaining self-confidence and building a stronger community for themselves.


Why focus on food and farming?

Food is essential to human life! We all need to eat. Food is job-security. As long as there are people on this earth, someone will always have to grow, harvest, and prepare food. Putting people in touch with where their food comes from is so important, especially as our world becomes increasingly complex with global food markets dictating what and how we eat.

Farming is not just about digging in the soil, though. It requires specific skills, attention to detail, and hands-on-learning. Farming is a doorway for us to learn more about our food, but also about ourselves, and the act of digging in the soil connects us to our roots. For many of us at the Culinary Arts and Farm Education (CAFE) program, farming and cooking have allowed us to create new mindsets for ourselves, improved our career options, and our well-being. We understand the hardships in life’s most challenging moments, because we’ve been there. We also understand how important and integral connection is to the human experience: connection with each other, with the natural world, and with the food that sustains us. Now more than ever, it is vital that we get outside, breathe fresh air, and calm our often overworked minds.

Connecting folks to food through farming and cooking helps us achieve all of those vital requirements! It is difficult to put into words the positive impact that being outside, digging in the soil, and caring for life-sustaining foods has on our well being -- it is something fundamentally experienced, rather than explained. Learning about growing and preparing food improves well-being. This in turn inspires self-confidence, productivity, and a willingness to participate in life. These are the very connections that improve long-term potential for meaningful employment, a higher quality of life, and improved health. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.

What is CAFE?

The Culinary Arts and Farm Education Program, or CAFE for short, offers culinary and sustainable farming training for those who are experiencing barriers to employment.

What We Offer

  • Introduction to Cooking

  • Sustainable Farming & Gardening

  • Teamwork & Healthy Communication

  • Value of Fresh Food & Fresh Air Activity

  • Direct Connections to Meaningful Employment

  • Networking Opportunities

  • Industry-Related Training (including FoodSafe & First Aid)

A New Partnership

Our Project is growing, and we are thrilled. This growing season the Start Fresh Project and Wise Earth Farm have come together to amplify our food-growing and community legacy capacity. The relationship between Wise Earth Farm and our for-profit business (The Start Fresh Kitchen) began as a supplier-customer relationship in 2017 and blossomed from there. In January 2019 our non-profit arm (The Start Fresh Project) and Wise Earth Farm came together, merging their efforts to strengthen both organizations’ initiatives.

What does this mean for the Project?

Simply put, it means better access to farming space, improved on-the-ground training for our participants, and enhanced food production. This collaboration is one step in the long path towards sustainability and our legacy of community well-being. We’re so excited to welcome this year’s CAFE Program students to Wise Earth for what we think will be a phenomenal season.


The current enrolment of the program is now full.
However! If you are interested in applying for the next enrolment, or know of someone who may, please get in touch! If you are a social agency, looking to connect your clients who may be experiencing barriers to employment and would like to be notified of our next CAFE program cycle, please contact our project coordinator through: