Growing Entrepreneurs, the Land Trust’s year-round job program for youth, is in its 12th week. Temperatures are dipping and the end of daylight savings will soon put our after-school workdays in the dark. Will things start to slow down? Not quite. We are switching to Saturday workdays, protecting the garden from the cold, starting a new business venture for the winter, and adding one more youth to our team.
The garden that produced bok choy, tomatoes and hot peppers for Miya’s Sushi this summer (did you see the article in the business section of the New Haven Register) is now under row cover providing frost protection for the Daikon radish that the students will sell to Chief Brody’s Bahn Mi food truck later this month. The students are also growing arugula and spinach in a passively heated hoop house that they renovated. They must have done a good job: up to forty degree differences in temperature between the inside and outside have been reported! They built a new door from scratch and designed a layout to maximize the 10’ x 10’ space. Winter is the time to get ready for the next growing season: the 5 bin compost system the students built over the summer is working day and night to turn the vegetable waste of the summer back into fertile soil and a much larger heated greenhouse is in the works to grow seedling starting in February or March.
Until then, in an effort to address the seasonality of both youth and environmental jobs, the Land Trust will continue to employ the youth outside of the growing season. The students will be building and installing ready-to-plant raised garden beds for private residences, as they learn the entrepreneurial skills needed to start a small business.The students are working on all aspects of the project: creating a business plan, setting a price point, advertising, conducting community outreach, and looking into incorporating environmentally-friendly components, in addition to actually building the raised garden beds.
We will be installing raised garden beds Saturdays throughout November and December. Increase your food independence and support our youth job program by purchasing a raised garden bed for your front or backyard. E-mail [email protected] for more information!