Financial Sustainability and Job creation
The purpose of GrowGood’s social enterprise is achieve financial stability for the organization as well as provide meaningful paid employment opportunities for shelter residents.
GrowGood’s ultimate goal is to create a sustainable and replicable urban farming model. GrowGood’s new 40’ x 38’ commercial greenhouse is the centerpiece of our social enterprise efforts. The greenhouse is climate controlled, which gives our team the ability to grow an array of products year-around that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of our nursery and chef/restaurant clients. We also sell our produce at local farmers markets. Despite selling some our produce, GrowGood is still able to provide large quantities of fruits and vegetables to the shelter’s kitchen. All the money earned from the social enterprise is reinvested back into the organization.
GrowGood is deeply committed to helping shelter residents get back on their feet and regain their independence. The problem is that getting back in the job market can be tough. Potential employers want to see skills, work experience and professional references.
The Transitional Employment Program (“TEP”) is GrowGood’s job training program. The TEP program fits within the shelter’s existing employment readiness program. The premise of TEP is that the best way to teach how to be employed is to employ. We offer a 3 to 5 month employment period to help shelter residents learn both the soft and hard skills needed to successfully transition back into the job market.
This competitive program employs up to five shelter clients every 3 to 5 months, up to 20 residents in a year. These paid positions provide foundational job skills and include hands-on farming work as well as the opportunity to supervise volunteers and learn other skills.
As part of our efforts to diversify our income streams and increase awareness for our work, GrowGood has partnered with local nonprofits, artists, herbalists, compost masters, and many more to offer workshops on our farm. Our workshops provide an accessible way to learn a new skill and show the public what urban farming looks like. All of our workshops are free to residents of the Bell Shelter.
Above: December 9, 2018 Danielle Noe of Wild Terra leading a workshop on creating the fiery folk remedy called Fire Cider using herbs and other ingredients grown at the farm.