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Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014

Holton Youth and Family Center and Victory Garden Initiative

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On the corner of East Concordia Avenue and Palmer Street, fertile plots with fruits, vegetables and flowers create the 1.5-acre Concordia Gardens, a serene community garden, urban orchard, composting site and production farm within the Harambee neighborhood. Two nonprofits, the Holton Youth and Family Center (HYFC) and Victory Garden Initiative (VGI), saw its educational potential, so they created the Victory Garden Farm Stand. Currently in its pilot year, the Farm Stand is available to HYFC teens and focuses on teaching farming, life skills and business training, though all HYFC youth are encouraged to help with the gardening as well. The teens running the stand grow, harvest, package and sell the produce, with the perk of keeping the proceeds.

“The Farm Stand is a really good way for us to engage the youth, have them see some economic benefit from selling the food and keep the food right here in the neighborhood,” says Jesse Blom, VGI’s farm and garden educator. “We want the youth to understand that what they’re growing and producing has value; we want them to learn marketing and sales skills and understand that that also has economic value; and then we also want them to get into the habit of showing up consistently on time and knowing that that’s going to pay off over time.”

The Farm Stand’s produce is all fresh.

“We’re going to have some produce on the table and when it sells, the kids are back in the field harvesting more,” says Cullen Bosworth, VGI’s farmer. “It’s as fresh as it gets.”

The Victory Garden Farm Stand is open every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and needs your support. There are many volunteer opportunities available for community members at the garden as well. For more information, visit facebook.com/concordiagardens, victorygardeninitiative.org or call VGI at 414-431-0888.