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ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The New Haven Land Trust’s Growing Entrepreneurs Program works with New Haven high school-aged students who develop small-business ventures to solve problems in their community. As employees of the Land Trust, students learn skills in agriculture and carpentry working on small projects at community gardens. They are then encouraged to develop an idea for a business that would have a positive impact on the environment and the New Haven community. The program is designed to strengthen the students in five key areas: professional skills, entrepreneurship, understanding of environmental issues, gardening and carpentry skills, and character skills. These skills prepare the students for secondary education, future jobs, and potential future entrepreneurial ventures, as well as preparing them to be stewards of the environment throughout their lives.
After many summers employing Youth@Workcrews at the Land Trust, and the successful initiation of a year-long Growing Entrepreneurs program in 2016, we debuted our new Growing Entrepreneurs curriculum Summer 2017. This curriculum was created by New Haven Land Trust staff members and by summer interns supported by the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. The curriculum leads the five Youth@Workstudents through the creation of socially-conscious, agriculture-related business ideas. The students write mission statements, work out financial details, and create presentations for their unique business ventures. At the same time, they learn carpentry and gardening skills and work on several projects for the Land Trust and several existing business ventures. The Growing Entrepreneurs build raised garden beds at community gardens and have built pergolas and fences around the city. They continue their raised garden bed business, building raised beds for private homeowners as well as the market garden, selling vegetables to New Haven restaurants including The Juice Box, Da Legna, and Oak Haven, Christopher Martin's, and Union League. As of October 2018, the Growing Entrepreneurs have sold and installed over 40 raised garden beds to private customers and sold over 400 lbs of produce to local restaurants.