On Saturday May 27th, Community Connections hosted the ground breaking ceremony of the Youth Blossom Project. Through the Healthy Transitions grant Community Connections were able to collaborate with Cultivating the City and Steel Plate Bar and Grill to maintain our new urban farm. This is a great example of how stakeholders can come together to make a difference in the community. Steel Plate Bar and Grill takes produce grown from the garden and use it in their restaurants. They take on youth to teach and establish food preparation and handling skills. They also teach the Community Connections group home staff on how to utilize fresh produce and teach the residents about the importance of healthy eating. Cultivating the City will maintain the garden and educate the participating youth about essential entrepreneurial skills. Those working with Cultivating the City will have the opportunity to sell produce grown in the garden to food deserts of the District. This grant also provides children with Community Connections the opportunity to work with a employment specialist. We currently have 7 individuals who have obtained and maintained employment with corporations such as Panera Bread and Forever21.
CEO, Dr. Maxine Harris, joined in on the fun and brought her gardening experience and lend a hand in the initial planting. We were also honored to have Representative Franklin Garcia as our keynote speaker. Representative Franklin shared some encouraging words that spoke to the mission of the project. We also heard from other supporters of the project such as Melody Crutchfield, Director of Supported Employment at DBH, and Andrew Reese, Director of DDS. We were fortunate to have about 50 members of the community stop by and learn more about the Youth Blossom Project.
This is a pilot project and the ultimate goal is to have these urban farms form all around the city. Not only does it provide produce to the community but it teaches the youth of the area the importance of healthy eating, provides work experience and entrepreneurial skills that will set them up for success. We would like to thank everyone from the community who came out to support the project. We look forward to sharing the successes with the members of the community.