Teens Farm for College Funds in Boston Harbor Program - NECN
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Teens Farm for College Funds in Boston Harbor Program

Five teenagers who are considered "at-risk" are being guided in the growth and sale of produce

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A group of teens are spending their summer on an island in Boston Harbor, farming and selling their produce - all in the name of raising money for college. (Published Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017)

    A one-acre farm on Long Island in Boston Harbor has been turned into a real life lesson in the business of farming.

    Five teenagers who are considered "at-risk" are being guided in the growth and sale of produce.

    "With the potatoes, you want them underground as much as possible," said Jonathan, 15, who lives in Roxbury and Dorchester.

    They grow a variety of produce including carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. Fresh food at their fingertips.

    "It's better to farm than to buy at the grocery store," said 16-year-old Juliette.

    Monday through Friday they hop on a ferry to farm.

    "It really is done to make sure that we are figuring out the best way improve the lives of these kids," said Jon Olinto, co-founder of b.good.

    The company provides the seeds, management, and mentoring.

    "The curriculum is all about putting these urban kids who the city has identified to be at risk, give them a connection to local agriculture, healthy eating, nutrition, but where we've kid of taken the curriculum is about entrepreneurship," said Olinto.

    On Saturdays, they head to the farm stand after creating marketing and pricing and then focus on customer service.

    "You have to learn the skill to convince someone who wouldn't even think about buying it to buy it," said Jonathan.

    One-hundred-percent of the money they make gets divided into a college fund. They are close to making $1,000 this summer.

    Coming from a world of concrete, it's the first time most have seen where food actually comes from.

    There aren't many places in the city where a teenager can pluck a carrot out of the ground, wash it off, and eat it in a matter of seconds.

    The teens then teach what they're learning to the campers at Camp Harbor View.

    "We ask a lot of our kids, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' It's doctor, lawyer, athlete and the idea that farmer never occurs to them," said Greg Stoddard, director of Camp Harbor View.

    Like the produce, their small business continues to grow. They're now looking to sell at the market on Sundays which would turn their operation into a seven-day-a-week job.

    Right now, the sell at the markets at SoWa and Mattapan.

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