2015 has been a challenging, yet rewarding, year for the Sweet Potato Project. So far, we've only raised about 20% of our projected budget. The board and I made the decision to cut back on recruiting new students and instead focus on our veteran students and a couple new recruits. This decision has allowed us to prepare about 15 kids to be community leaders and land-owners. By the end of August, we will have a crack team of youth prepared to harvest sweet potatoes grown on various "partner gardens," make sales presentations to bakeries, stores and individuals, meet and deliver orders and serve as mentors to the 2016 youth.
As in 2014, the program will operate year-round. After August, we will return to our community focus on land-ownership and massive food production on vacant lots throughout the region. Today, we have a buyer-St. Louis University-who will purchase all the sweet potatoes we harvest this fall.
By the end of the year, we hope to have a large collection of student and adult land-owners who will join our efforts to create a food hub (community farms and farmer's markets, etc.). Next year, we hope to approach other buyers ( grocers, restaurants, bakeries, schools, etc.) who will commit to buy fresh food and quality food-based products out of North St. Louis.
What follows is a photo-essay that details how we used the summer to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. The vision begins today but we need your support. Your donations will help us complete another successful summer program and operate effectively throughout the fall, winter and spring.
Please support the Sweet Potato Project by making a donation (click here) today.
Thanking you in advance, Sylvester Brown, Jr. / Director
|Students building raised beds at the Ville Orchid|
|Students planting at the Ville Orchid|
|Students pose with the owners of Tillie's Corner, one of our partner gardens|
MoBot's Executive Director, Peter Wyse-Jackson announcing SPP plot at the garden
|Students present "Dream Boards," a visual representation of their hopes, dreams and wishes for the future|
|Visit to Ranken Technical School|
|Instructor talking about hands-on skills taught at Ranken|
|Ranken Technical School|
|Visit with entrepreneur, Sterling Moody, at Supreme Car Wash in North St. Louis|
|Sterling Moody sharing plans with students for a grocery store in East St. Louis|
Our students went on several "Neighborhood Walks" this summer. With note books in hand, they are instructed to write down what they see in various areas. After the walks we discuss the "positives & negatives" of each community and how we can help North St. Louis become just as vibrant as other areas in the region.
|Walking in the Natural Bridge & Newstead area|
|Visit to strip mall on Natural Bridge in North St. Louis|
|Visit to South Grand business district|
|Mo Costello, owner of Mokebe's Coffee talks business with our students|
|With Jessie Mueller, one of the owners of RISE coffee in the Grove|
|Learning to cook in one of SLU's industrial kitchens|
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