In Canton Ohio, 32% poverty rates are a reality. Those seeking employment to be able to afford food pull themselves out of poverty, are fewand far between, especially without a college education or with a criminal record of some sort. StarkFresh operates a Food Justice Campus, located within downtown Canton, OH in a 100-yr-old building. The Food Incubation Center, housed within the Campus helps erase barriers towards business ownership, by taking physical assets (affordable office space and a shared, licensed commercial kitchen)and pairs them with personalized guidance & training mainly with our Business Development Boot Camp. We've created space in the Campus basement for a microgreen growing operation. There aren't any microgreen farms locally designed to create employment opportunities for low-income individuals who are seeking a way to earn a living. Locally, the demand seems to be growing for quality microgreen offerings. By growing in an otherwise unusable interior space, we are able to better use resources ¬ have to take up potentially valuable land for other agricultural crops. Through the creation of this pilot microgreen farm, we hope to create an example of how a different approach to food and employment can create a meaningful way out of poverty.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. Prep and equip the basement at the Food Justice Campus to be a suitable space for microgreen cultivation.
2. Test different growing mediums using different base materials, growing styles, and growing vessels.
3. Take an unskilled, low-income individual and teach them how to cultivate microgreens.
4. Increase microgreen sales to local restaurants, retail stores.
5. Document the entire process to be able to duplicate at a later date, at a different location, with different individuals.