Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Let Them Lead: Please support the Sweet Potato Project

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

Planting at a plot donated by the Missouri Botanical Garden

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 Scooter's Snacks & More on Natural Bridge Rd.

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
At City Greens in the Grove area
Learning to cook in one of SLU's industrial kitchens

Students visit the Creative Exchange Laboratory

Students discuss designing the future home of the Sweet Potato Project

Rudimentary architectural rendering of the future SPP building

On the second visit to CEL, students made clay models of their designs 

                                                                      PLEASE MAKE A DONATION TODAY: