Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sweet Potato Project to Launch Thanks to Generous Donation from the Incarnate Word Foundation


For Immediate Release:                                                                                             
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sylvester Brown, Jr.


ST. LOUIS – Classes for the Sweet Potato Project are scheduled to begin on Monday, June 10th at St. Louis Catholic Academy thanks to a generous $10,000 grant from the Incarnate Word Foundation (IWF). The grant was offered to nonprofits whose work specifically focused on “youth development” in three North St. Louis neighborhoods: The Ville, Penrose, and O’Fallon.  The Sweet Potato Project which strives to teach “at-risk” youth entrepreneurial skills they can employ today, in their own neighborhoods began last year in the 21st Ward which includes parts of the Penrose and O’Fallon Park areas. This year, the project, offered by the North Area Community Development Corporation, a 501 (c) (3) organization, has reached out to youth and stakeholders in IWF’s targeted areas.

On Saturday, June 8th, participating youth will plant sweet potatoes on various North St. Louis vacant lots and designated gardens. For nine weeks, they will be paid a minimum-wage stipend while participating in marketing, branding, leadership, conflict resolution; website design, product development and classes that help them turn their yields into marketable, viable products. Last year’s food-based product created by the youth was sweet potato cookies which will go on sale again by mid-July.  

“We can’t thank the Incarnate Word Foundation enough for awarding us this grant,” said Sylvester Brown, Jr., the executive director of the Sweet Potato Project. Although we fund-raised throughout the summer, fall and winter last year, we couldn’t have even started without the Incarnate Word’s support of $5,000 last year and $10,000 this year.”
The Sweet Potato project, Brown said, is just the beginning of a economic empowerment movement in low income communities throughout the region.

“Last year, our youth started with one vacant and created one product. This year, we will have more youth, more kids and more planting locations in inner-city areas. Hopefully out of this, we will have more food-based products created. In five years, our goal is to have large-scale farming and food packaging, canning and distributing serve as the catalyst for major economic revitalization in disadvantaged communities.

To learn more visit NACDC’s website at: http://nacda.wordpress.com/the-sweet-potato-project/

The Sweet Potato project is a program offered by the North Area Community Development Corporation, a 501 (C-3) Agency / 4843 Hammett Place / St. Louis, MO 63113