When you consider the reality that so often there are limited supplies of fresh, organic foods available in parts of our inner cities, and that so often the kids living there see few positive career prospects in their future there’s no doubt that a program that’s thriving in St. Paul, Minnesota could serve as a model for success across urban America that could ignite a passion for going green among our inner city youth.Dedicated to the idea that urban youth can learn about sustainability while discovering potential new careers and making their portion of the world a greener and brighter space, the folks behind the East Side Garden Corps are encountering such success that they’ve had to turn down a couple of dozen applicants each season of late because of staffing limitations.
An unbelievable feat when you take into consideration the fact that that we’re talking about an overflow of 14-18 yr old kids who are lining up to dig in the soil and learn how to garden during what could otherwise be considered their own personal free time.
East Side Garden Corps A Product of Creative Thinking
But perhaps most intriguingly, the program grew out of the Community Design Center, an almost 40-year-old nonprofit organization that has morphed from providing architectural and urban-planning assistance in at-need neighborhoods to getting low-income youth involved in food and ecology as a means of developing their entrepreneurial skills along with a healthier lifestyle.
And it’s really due to the foresight of the folks running that non-profit that these kids are learning about business by running their own farm stand and seeing the complete pathway of food as it heads from the land to the market and on to their dinner table. Because there’s no doubt that they’ve taken a complete left turn from architecture into a whole new direction that’s bearing fruit in more ways than one.
Who knows, perhaps there is potential for a similar project near you?