Posts Tagged ‘YEAH! Kids’

One food fight wafting through the locavore blogosphere is the attempt to write off the movement as merely a bunch of foodie yuppies in pursuit of white eggplants or edible flowers. But there’s much more going on in the efforts to localize food economies, including work to assure that healthy, local foods are available to all. Here in the 30 Mile Meal region of southeast Ohio, partnerships are turning the well worn adage about giving a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day… into ‘teach kids to grow food and develop business skills and they’ll have more life choices.’

Young entrepreneurs at the Athens Farmers Market

In 2005, Community Foods Initiatives began a community garden program at the Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Hope Drive Apartments, a public housing complex for low-income individuals and families. Soon a group of youths ranging from 12 to 18 were organically growing vegetables and making value added food products to sell at the Athens Farmers Market. Their earnings support YEAH! (Youth Entrepreneurs At Hope) Kids.

Now CFI is partnering with Shagbark Seed & Mill Co. to help seven YEAH! Kids acquire business skills. In this venture, the young entrepreneurs purchase locally grown 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, they repackage the foods and sell them 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 prepares them for work in various ways, and exposes them to local food options that support healthier lifestyles.”

Shagbark Seed & Mill Company owners Michelle Ajamian and Brandon Jaeger

Reflecting on the potential impact of the grant Shagbark received from the Wallace Foundation to partner with CFI and the YEAH! Kids, Michelle Ajamian notes, “This is a really exciting partnership for us. Working with CFI means that we go beyond being a boutique business and it allows us to be part of an effort to provide healthy food access to low-income residents.” She adds, “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.”

The YEAH! Kids are already showing some business savvy. They’ve scheduled their sales at the Athens Farmers Market to coincide with upcoming holiday meals and gift-giving. So stop by the Saturday Market on November 20th and December 11th and 18th and see what the YEAH! Kids are offering.


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