In 2011, three recent college graduates combined their Tallahassee-based youth mentorship group with a local community garden. The result was iGrow, which oversees two community gardens run by local youth and community volunteers.
The gardens provide access to healthy food for residents of the Frenchtown community, which is desperately needed. Frenchtown is a low-income area designated as a food desert, suffering from higher-than-average rates of obesity and diabetes.
Since 2013, iGrow has produced and donated thousands of pounds of food.
What sets iGrow apart from other community gardens is its emphasis on self-funding. iGrow is complemented by grants and state funding, but also employs residents who sell self-produced garden buckets, compost, raised beds for gardening, T-shirts, and, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We teach agricultural skills, but it’s really a classroom,” said Sundiata Ameh-El, iGrow’s director. “Young people can come to grow their own food (and) learn how to run a small business.”
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