Grow Orlando was established in 2016 and launched its pilot program at the Tangelo Park YMCA with only a few high school students, each provided with a healthy plant. The goal was simple: the students had to keep their plants healthy for two weeks and bring them back and in exchange, Grow Orlando would buy it back from them.
If these students brought back their plants healthy and thriving, and properly marketed their product, the monetary value would be negotiated at a higher rate.
From there we learned as an organization that the key to a healthy future for these students and the communities in which they lived in was to focus our attention on youth development through urban farming.
The possibility to eradicate food insecurity in the students' homes and neighborhoods grew as well as the chance to introduce them to marketing, wealth management, and a new source of income for
them and their family.
What We Do & How We Do It
Our organization addresses the issue of food deserts and financial insecurity that plague the low-income neighborhoods and communities within the Orlando area and its surrounding suburbs. There are little to no healthy food options in these areas, a lack of high quality restaurants, and any food options that are available are usually fast food establishments with cheap and unhealthy foods provisions.
With the lack of high quality food and restaurants goes the possibility of a healthy financial economy and the individuals we work with are left with a lack of work opportunities within a reasonable distance from their communities. Our micro-farms not only help eradicate food deserts and provide healthy eating options but we employ students and add valuable work experience to their professional development.
Our work ensures the stabilization of these financially insecure and low-income neighborhoods and communities and is accomplished through urban farming and the development of food sovereignty.
The formula is simple and effective:
Teach students to farm > Grow and harvest crops > Market & sell produce > invest profits back into micro-farms, other local businesses, & their communities
We also call for a healthy food system that prioritizes sustainable healthy local food production. - Jill Stein
Teaching life skills through plant cultivation to youth in urban agriculture.
To eradicate food disparity in low wealth and under resourced communities.