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USA: YEAH kids at farmers’ market

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Athens-based (USA) nonprofit Community Food Initiatives is partnering with Shagbark Seed & Mill Co. to help seven youths from the Hope Apartments– known as the YEAH! (“Youth Entrepreneurs At Hope”) Kids (picture) – acquire business skills and participate in the local food economy by selling Shagbark products at the Athens Farmers’ Market on four Saturdays this November and December. The Wallace Foundation recently awarded a grant to Shagbark to make this project possible. The youths, who range in age from 12 to 18, have grown their own garden vegetables at the Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority-owned Hope Apartment complex since 2005, as well as selling produce and value-added products at the Farmers' Market for the past three years. Profits from these sales go directly to the YEAH Kids.

In this venture, they will purchase black turtle beans, corn and spelt flours and spelt berries from Shagbark, a recently-started local company focusing on staple food products. After making these wholesale purchases, the YEAH! Kids plan to break the bulk items down and sell it at Shagbark’s Athens Farmers Market booth. “This is a great opportunity for kids to learn money management skills and familiarize themselves with inventory, packaging, processing and customer relations,” says CFI Community Garden Manager Lisa Trocchia-Balkits. “It will prepare them for work in various ways, and expose them to local food options that support healthier lifestyles.”

“This is a really exciting partnership for us,” says Shagbark co-owner Michelle Ajamian. “Working with CFI has proven to be a way for us to go beyond being a boutique business to working towards food security for our region. The focus of the Wallace grant is to provide healthy food access to low-income residents. CFI projects at the Athens and Trimble Township Farmers' Market, Trimble Tomcat Culinary Club and Athens City School Family Fun Nights is going to make this possible.” CFI promotes self-sufficiency with the Athens region’s food supplies. Besides the YEAH Kids project, the group provides Community Gardens around Athens County as well as Edible Schoolyard programming and curricula, operates the CFI Donation Station, hosts community workshops and highlights the importance of Seed Saving, composting and other educational projects.

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