BoysGrow breaks ground for $1 million facility

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The facility on Boys Grow’s 10-acre farm on East 147th St. will include a harvest handling room, a certified kitchen, and classroom, office and event space.

BoysGrow Ground Breaking

By John Sharp

BoysGrow, a nonprofit organization that uses farming and food sales to teach entrepreneurial skills to urban youth ages 14-17 conducted a ground breaking Tuesday, October 30, for its new $1 million facility on its 10-acre working farm at 9301 E. 147th St. that will contain a harvest handling room; certified kitchen; and classroom, event and office space.

Youth in the organization’s two-year program are involved in all aspects of running the farm including plant propagation, weeding, watering, harvesting, packaging, selling and distributing produce to area stores and restaurants.

They also handle creating the recipes and producing value added products such as barbeque sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, salad dressing and salsa, including designing their labels and selling and delivering the products.

BoysGrow inside
A rendering of the interior view.

The youth receive extensive mentorship and training in construction, culinary arts, farming, graphic design, public speaking and/or sales/marketing.

The harvest handling room in the new facility will allow the organization to safely prepare and deliver a much higher volume of produce, and the certified kitchen will allow youth receiving culinary arts training to work in a kitchen similar to modern restaurant kitchens.  The event space will allow them to plan and prepare meals for relatively small groups.

The organization has raised about $815,000 of the $1 million estimated cost of the new facility called the BoysGrow Farm Kitchen, according to John Gordon, Jr., executive director.

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